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DUKE 
UNIVERSITY 




LIBRARY 



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MESMERISM; 



HISTORY, PHENOMENA, AND PRACTICE 



REPORTS OF CASES 
DEVELOPED IN SCOTLAND. 



" It is a very obvious principle, although often forgotten in the pride of prejudice 
and of controversy, that what has been seen by one pair of human eyes, is of force to 
countervail all that has been reasoned or guessed at by a thousand human under- 
standings."— Da. Chalmers. 

" While an unbounded credulity is the part of a weak mind, which never thinks nor 
reasons at all, an unlimited scepticism is the part of a contracted mind, which reasons 
upon imperfect data, or makes its own knowledge and extent of observation the stand- 
ard and test of probability." -Abbrcrombib on the Intellectual Powers. 



EDINBURGH: 
FRASER AND CO., 15, WATERLOO PLACE. 

W. S. ORR AND CO. LONDON. 
W. CURRY, JUN., AND COMPANY, DUBLIN. 
MDCCCXLIII. 



KDINBURGH : PRINTED BY T. CONSTABLE, 
PRTNTER TO HER MAJESTY. 



/3 4- 



PREFACE. 



Men have differed, and will probably continue to 
differ, regarding the theories which have been based 
upon the curious phenomena known under the name 
of Mesmerism ; but as to the reality of the more im- 
portant of the phenomena themselves — more espe- 
cially those witnessed in the alleviation of human 
suffering — few impartial inquirers can long remain 
in doubt. 

The following pages have not been written with 
the view of supporting any theory, new or old, ex- 
planatory of Mesmerism, but principally for the pur- 
pose of contributing to the stock of facts which 
have from time to time been laid before the public. 
The original intention of the writer was, merely 
to bring together, in a connected form, the reports 
of certain cases, which had attracted a consider- 
able degree of attention. It afterwards occurred to 
him, that a brief glance at the past history of 
Mesmerism, with some account of what had recently 
been accomplished in various parts of the country, 
accompanied by descriptions of the processes in 
use among the most experienced Mesmerisers, so 



IV PREFACE. 

as to form a sort of manual of the science, might be 
acceptable to a numerous body of readers. A work 
of this kind, in a cheap and portable form, is so evi- 
dently a desideratum, that he trusts no apology for 
its appearance is necessary. 

The work has been divided into nine chapters. The 
first contains a brief sketch of the past history of 
Mesmerism. In the second, some account is given of 
the theories which have been entertained by various 
writers on Mesmerism. The third is devoted to the 
Mesmeric phenomena and states. The application of 
Mesmerism to Medical Science is treated of in a po- 
pular form in the fourth chapter ; and reports are 
given, from authoritative sources, of numerous cases 
in which this agency has been useful in surgical 
operations, and in the cure of disease. The fifth 
chapter, the longest in the volume, is occupied with 
reports of cases which have recently occurred in 
Scotland. Of two of these, some slight notices 
have already appeared, but they are now reported in 
a much more complete form. Dr. Mitchell's journal 
of the most important of the cases — that of Isabella 

D can scarcely fail to be perused with interest. 

In the sixth chapter, copious directions are given, 
from the works of the most eminent writers, as to the 
different methods of producing Mesmeric sleep, in- 
cluding what Mr. Braid has termed Hypnotic or 
Nervous Sleep. The topic of the seventh chapter 
might have been included with the other Mesmeric 
phenomena in a previous part of the volume, but as 
the phenomena, classed under what is denominated 
Phreno-Mesmerism, continue to be the subject of 



PREFACE. V 

much controversy, it has been thought better to 
discuss them separately. The highly curious and 
interesting Mesmeric experiments on the Brute 
Creation, by Dr. Wilson, physician to the Middlesex 
Hospital, are detailed at some length in the eighth 
chapter. In the ninth, the work is brought to a 
close, with a few general remarks. 

Such is a slight outline of the contents of the succeed- 
ing pages, in which Mesmerisers of the old, as well 
as of the more modern schools, have, as much as pos- 
sible, been permitted to speak in their own language. 
The subject is as yet too little understood in all its 
bearings, even by the best informed, to authorise 
dogmatic and decisive assertion ; and although 
there is much in the works of the older authors, 
which runs counter to the ideas of some of more 
recent date, it has not been considered necessary, 
on that account, to exclude the opinions of either 
from these pages. To all a free field has been given, 
and the writer is desirous of being understood as 
giving a place to opinions which have been pro- 
mulgated by men, who, while they have certain 
points of agreement, yet differ on certain others, and 
not as himself adopting in toto the doctrines of any 
particular school. He does not hesitate to avow his 
belief in the ordinary phenomena of Mesmerism as 
described in this volume, and in the works' of many 
authors who have written on the subject. With re- 
gard to other phenomena, such as those occurring in 

the case of Isabella H , he does not venture to 

offer an opinion. He will merely say, respecting 
this case, that it has been fairly stated, and that the 
gentlemen whose evidence is given are incapable of 



VI PREFACE. 

committing to paper what they do not believe to be 
strictly true. He may further add, that the narra- 
tive of the curious incident, at page 134, was seen 
and marked by him with his initials in May 1843, 
and he has since been shown the original of the letter 
received in the succeeding July, from the reverend 
gentleman on the other side of the Atlantic. In 
avowing a belief in Mesmerism, the writer is well 
aware that few laurels are to be won. The Rev. Mr. 
Townshend has aptly remarked, — 

" All the circumstances which are unfavourable to 
Mesmerism end in one fatal word, — contempt. 
Every thing tends to raise a laugh at its expense ; 
and against a laugh who shall have the courage to 
contend? This is the last possible degradation. 
Men love the mysterious and the proscribed, but they 
shrink from the ridiculous. They can bear to be 
thought wicked, but not to be deemed fools ; they 
will endure to be hated, but not to be despised. 
Now, Mesmerism has become not merely a persecuted, 
but a ridiculous faith. There is no pomp of circum- 
stance about it to uphold the proselyte who is called 
upon to defend it to the death. The glory of martyr- 
dom for its sake, is done away. There is no dig- 
nity in suffering in such a cause." 

The love of truth, however, and the desire for its 
diffusion, will induce men to brave even the penal- 
ties of such a position as Mr. Townshend has des- 
cribed. With the late Richard Chenevix, the writer 
is prepared to exclaim, u To me (and before many 
years the opinion must be universal) the most extra- 
ordinary event in the whole history of human science 
is, that Mesmerism ever could be doubted." And, 



PREFACE. 



with the Rev. Mr. Townshend, he would say to the 
student who is on the threshold of the inquiry, " Lay 
aside all prejudice connected either with the origin, 
name, or injudicious exposition of Mesmerism, and 
try the subject, wholly and impartially, upon its own 
merits. Unalarmed by the apparent strangeness 
and incongruity of the phenomena to be investigated, 
we should call to mind how frequently ' appearances 
of external nature, puzzling at first sight, and seem- 
ingly irreconcileable with one another, have all been 
solved and harmonised by a reference to some one 
pervading principle,' and should thus be led to sur- 
mise that the irregularity and variations of the Mes- 
meric world may be found, upon mature observation, 
less inexplicable than a careless spectator could ima- 
gine. Even should this hope be long deferred, we 
are not, on that account, to deny the reality of well- 
attested facts. Are these things so ? is the one great 
question which we have to ask ; and to separate this 
from all its accidental accompaniments is the first 
step towards its satisfactory solution." Having truth 
for a guide, and caring nothing for the sneers of the 
ignorant or the prejudiced, let the inquirer proceed 
boldly on his path, and whatever men may say of 
him, his reward will not be wanting. Let him de- 
clare, in the sturdy language of Luther, u I am for 
tearing off every mask, for managing nothing, for 
extenuating nothing, for shutting the eyes to nothing, 
that truth may be transparent and unadulterated, 
and may have a free course." 

With the foregoing explanations, the writer com- 
mits this little volume to the hands of the public. 
There is too little in it of what can properly be 



Vlll PREFACE, 

termed authorship to warrant him in inscribing his 
name on the title-page, — but being neither ashamed 
of his opinions, nor anxious for concealment, he gives 
it in this place. 

"William Lang. 



] , Claremont Street, Royal Crescent, 
Glasgow, August, 1843. 



CONTENTS. 



PREFACE. 

CHAPTER I.— Historical Sketch, .... 1 

Mesmerism Ancient in its Origin — Van Helmont and 
William Maxwell — Cures of Levret, Valentine Great- 
rakes, Dr. Streper, and Gassner — Mesmer, his birth, 
Studies medicine at Vienna, his appearance in Paris, 
Negotiation for the purchase of his Secret — French 
Commission of 1784 — Report by Jussieu — the Marquis 
de Puysegur — Death of Mesmer — Spread of Mesmer- 
ism on the Continent of Europe — Its Introduction 
into Britain by Mr. Chenevix — Works of Mr. Colqu- 
houn — Baron Dupotet — Dr. Elliotson — The Rev. 
Chauncy Hare Townshend — Mr. Braid — M. La 
Fontaine's visit to Scotland, and its consequences — 
Spread of Mesmerism in Scotland. 

CHAPTER II.— Theories of Mesmer and Others, . 11 

Mesmer's Theory — Opinion of Mr. Colquhoun — French 
Commissioners of 1784 — Opinions of Cuvier, Gall, 
La Place, Dr. Elliotson, Rev. Mr. Townshend, and 
Mr. Braid — Phenomena true, whatever Theory may 
ultimately be adopted. 

CHAPTER III.— Mesmeric Phenomena and States, 19 

Conclusions of the Second French Commission — Mes- 
meric States according to Kluge — Mr. Dove's Classifi- 
cation — Somnambulism, or Sleep- waking — Extracts 
from the Chevalier Ramsay, and from Wordsworth — 
Clairvoyance — Opinions of Mr. Townshend and Dr. 
Elliotson — Remarks upon the latter by Mr. Dove 
and Mr. Colquhoun — Anecdote of Colonel Gurwood 
— Mesmerism ought not to be rejected as a whole, 
even although Clairvoyance should be set aside. 



X CONTEXTS. 

PAGE 

CHAPTER IV.— Application of Mesmerism to Medical 
Science, 37 

Treatment of Galileo, Harvey, Sydenham, Ambrose 
Pare, Paracelsus, Groenvelt, Lady Mary Wortley Mon- 
tague and Innoculation, Jenner and Vaccination, the 
Newtonian Philosophy, &c. — Sir Walter Scott's and 
Dr. TVollaston's Opinions regarding Gas Light — Re- 
ception of Percussion and Auscultation, of Prussic 
Acid, Quinine, and other remedies — Mesmerism not 
worse treated than other Sciences like it founded on 
Truth — Resolution of the Council of University Col- 
lege, London — Mr. Colquhoun's ideas of certain Mem- 
bers of the Medical profession — Opinions expressed by 
certain of them, and their mode of proceeding — Cases 
in which Mesmerism has been employed — M. Jules 
Cloquet — The Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society 
— Mr. Gardiner of Portsmouth — Mr. Prideaux of 
Southampton — Mr. Carstairs of Sheffield — Dr. Engle- 
due of Southsea — Dr. Charlton, Royal Marines — Dr. 
Elliotson — Dr. Simpson of York — Mr. Chandler of 
Rotherhithe — Mr. Braid — Dr. Elliotson and theOkeys 
— The Examiner's Opinion of the Members of the Me- 
dical Faculty — Sir Humphrey Davy — Dugald Stewart 
— Future Conduct of the Medical Profession. 

CHAPTER V.— Cases. 

Isabella D , 65 

First case to which Mesmerism was applied in Scotland 
as a curative agent — Dr. Mitchell's introductory nar- 
rative — Journal — Descriptions given by other gentle- 
men who visited Patient — Stoppage of the Mesmeric 
treatment, and renewed illness of Patient — Narrative 
of illness, resumption of Mesmeric treatment, and re- 
sults of a Sleep of ten days — Dismissal of Patient's 
Father from his situation, and certificate granted by 
his former employers — Patient continues well. 

Isabella H , 1 13 

Introduction — Continuation of a former Narrative — 
Account given by an English gentleman — Description 
of a place of business — Testimony of a fourth witness 
— The investigation continued by same gentleman — 

Singular statement regarding the Rev. Mr. 

Letter from the Rev. gentleman in reply to his Cor- 
respondent — Account given by another gentleman 
— Mr. Robert Chambers's statement. 

Mary M , 140 

Catherine M , 145 

Agnes G , 150 



CONTENTS. XI 

PAGE 

Walter B , 154 

JanetS , 157 

A Mesmeriser Mesmerised, 159 

CHAPTER VI. Mesmeric Processes, . . .161 

Mesmer's Method — School of the Chevalier Barbarin — 
School of the Marquis de Puysegur — Description in 
Zoo-Magnetic Journal — Deleuze's Instructions — Dr. 
Caldwell's Method — Rev. La Roy Sunderland's pro- 
cesses — Rev. Mr. Townshend's Mode of Proceeding — 
Description by Professor Agassis — A Mesmeric Pile — 
Mr. Gardiner of Roche Court's Method — Mr. Braid's 
Mode of Hypnotising — His Manner of awakening Pa- 
tients — Dr. Elliotson's Method — His Opinion as to In- 
jury from too frequent Mesmerising — Mesmerism not 
operative only upon the Feeble — Opinions of Mr. 
Townshend, Dr. Caldwell, and Mr. Braid, as to the 
extent of Susceptibility in Man — Mesmerism ought not 
to be practised by the Ignorant or the Unwary. 

CHAPTER VII. Phreno-Mesmerism, . . .182 

Believed to have been discovered about the same time in 
the United States and in England — Rev. La Roy Sun- 
derland-— Mr. Spencer Hall — Dr.Engledue r s Address — 
Proceedings of Messrs. Mansfield and Gardiner — Case 
of a young lady — Experiments performed by Mr. At- 
kinson, Mr. Brookes, Mr. Prideaux, Captain Valiant, 
and Dr. Elliotson — Mr. Spencer Hall's Lectures — Dr. 
Elliotson's Account of two youthful Patients — Case 
described in Dr. Binn's Anatomy of Sleep — Experi- 
ments at Dr. Elliotson's House in May 1843 — Cases 

related by Mr. Braid, Mrs. Colonel , Miss S., a 

Methodist Lady, Miss R. — Opinion of Mr. Vandenhoff, 
the Tragedian — Case described by Mr. James Simp- 
son — Reference to Case of Agnes G Case of a 

Boy — Truth of the Manifestations proved, explain 
them as we may — Opinions of Dr. Elliotson and Mr. 
Colquhoun — Results of mentally expressed wish in the 

Case of Catherine M Erroneous Manifestations 

may be produced — Mr. Braid's Theory regarding the 
Phreno-Mesmeric manifestations — Subsequent Com- 
munication from Mr. Braid — Extract from Smellie's 
Philosophy of Natural History — Mr. Braid's directions 
for operating — Inquiries in progress will solve the dif- 
ficulties which surround Phreno-Mesmerism. 

CHAPTER VIII. Trials of Mesmerism on the Brute 

Creation, 215 

General allusions of the Rev. Mr. Townshend, Mr. 
Braid, and others — Anecdote of the Duke of Marl- 



XI 1 CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

borough — Statement of Mr. Borrow — Experiments 
performed by Dr. Wilson on Cats of various ages, a 
Terrier, a Drake, three Ducks ; on Fish, viz., Roach, 
Dace, Gudgeons, and Loach ; a large Scotch Terrier, 
Bantam Cock and Hen, She-Goat, two Terriers, Din- 
mont and Dandie, Chinese Gander, a common Goose, 
a large Newfoundland Dog, three Macaws, a Stable 
Cat, two Pigs, a Calf, a Waggoner's Dog, a Horse, a 
Male and Female Elephant, and a Lioness. 

CHAPTER IX. Concluding Remarks, . . .233 

The Rev. Hugh M'Neile's denunciation of Mesmerism — 
Clerical and Medical alliance — Extracts from Bailey 
and Jobard — Satanic Agency the Clerical bugbear — 
Medical Tactics of a different description— Extracts 
from Sir Gilbert Blane and Dr. Chalmers — Mesmer- 
ism of all others the Science of Facts — Remark of 
Mr. Chenevix — Opinion of La Place — Facts not the 
less true because explanation is wanting — Phenomena 
of Clairvoyance — Phreno-Mesmerism — Harder to dis- 
believe than to believe upon the evidence adduced — 
Obstacles raised by injudicious supporters of Mesmer- 
ism — Observations of the Rev. Mr. Townshend — Ob- 
jections answered — Non-professional practisers of Mes- 
merism — Opinion of Dr. Ziermann — Difficulties still 
to be surmounted — Opinion of Fourcroy — Mesmerism, 
like other truths, will ultimately have its day of tri- 
umph. 



ERRATUM. 

Page 43. line 13, for « Art of Love," rend « All for Love." 



MESMERISM. 



CHAPTER I. 



HISTORICAL SKETCH. 



Mesmerism, or Animal Magnetism, or, to speak 
with stricter accuracy, the peculiar agency to which 
both of these names are occasionally applied, seems 
to have been more or less known in those bygone 
ages of the world, whose records or traditions have 
come down to our time. Animal Magnetism was 
the name given to this agency by Mesmer, to whom 
the merit of reviving, and making it known in modern 
times, belongs; but as the adoption of a doubtful 
theory is thereby, in appearance at least, implied, 
the less objectionable term of Mesmerism has latterly 
been employed. Our glance at its past history will 
be very brief. 

Without attempting to trace back to more remote 
periods those curious phenomena which we now class 
under the general name of Mesmerism, it may be 
mentioned, that early in the seventeenth century, 
Van Helmont, a celebrated continental physician, 
exhibited a knowledge of the subject in his writings ; 
and, in the year 1679, our countryman, William 
Maxwell, laid down propositions very similar to 

A 



2 MESMERISM. 

those which, at an after period, were brought for- 
ward by Mesmer. 

Mr. Colquhoun states, in his learned work on Ani- 
mal Magnetism,* that about the middle of the seven- 
teenth century, there appeared in England a certain 
gardener of the name of Levret, an Irish gentleman, 
Valentine Greatrakes, and a Dr. Streper, who pro- 
fessed to cure various diseases by stroking with the 
hand. The cures performed in this manner by 
Greatrakes are authenticated by the Lord Bishop 
of Derry, and many other highly respectable indivi- 
duals. The Royal Society accounted for them by 
the supposition, that there existed " a sanative con- 
tagion in Mr. Greatrakes' body, which had an anti- 
pathy to some particular diseases, and not to others." 
At a still later period, Gassner, a Catholic minister, 
a native of Suabia, having taken up a notion that 
many diseases arose from demoniacal possession, and 
could be cured by exorcism, performed a number of 
astonishing cures, especially among patients affected 
with spasmodic and epileptic complaints. Many 
other instances of a like character might be adduced, 
exhibiting traces of this curious agency; but we 
come, without farther preface, to the individual who, 
in modern times, was the reviver of the science to 
which his name has been given. 

Frederick Anthony Mesmer was born in Switzer- 
land on the 23d of May 1734. He studied medi- 
cine at Vienna, where he obtained the degree of doc- 
tor, and settled as a physician. A marriage with a 
lady of fortune soon afterwards raised him above 
some of the cares which attach to the young medical 
practitioner. 

From an early age, Mesmer is said to have mani- 
fested a love of the marvellous ; and, in the year 

* Isis Revelata : An Inquiry into the Origin, Progress, and Pre- 
sent State of Animal Magnetism. By J. G. Colquhoun, Esq., 
Advocate, F.R.S.E. Edinburgh. 1836. 



HISTORICAL SKETCH. 3 

1766, he published a dissertation, On the Influence 
of the Planets upon the Human Body. He assumed, 
that the influence operated by electricity ; but find- 
ing that agent inadequate to the solution of all the 
phenomena, he afterwards abandoned it for magnet- 
ism. In 1773, upon the suggestion of Maximilian 
Hell, professor of astronomy at Vienna, he resorted 
to the use of the magnet, which he applied in the 
cure of various diseases. Ultimately he discovered 
that the magnetic rods employed by him were power- 
less, and that the healing power, whatever it might 
be, was resident in himself. The rods were accord- 
ingly abandoned, the effects being produced by cer- 
tain passes. 

Mesmer now began to assume a mysterious de- 
meanour, and, in no small degree through his own 
folly, so great a prejudice was created against him, 
that in 1777 he departed from Vienna, and early in 
the following year made his appearance in Paris. 
There, besides making a convert of Dr. D'Eslon, 
he performed many remarkable cures in the class 
of distinguished persons, and his fame accordingly 
spread with great rapidity throughout the gay cir- 
cles of that city. The members of the medical pro- 
fession, however, set themselves in resolute opposi- 
tion to Mesmer, and for a time he retired to Spa, 
but afterwards, upon the persuasion of his friends, 
returned to Paris. 

A negotiation was attempted for the purchase of 
Mesmer s secret by the French Government ; but 
this having failed, the sale was carried on to private 
individuals at the rate of one hundred louis a head. 
It was a condition of each sale that secrecy should 
be maintained; but this was broken through, and 
the knowledge of the facts propagated by Mesmer 
was soon widely diffused, with the disadvantage of 
having many corruptions grafted upon them accord- 
ing to the fancies of various individuals. The prac- 



4 MESMERISM. 

tice of Mesmer savoured in itself sufficiently of 
quackery, and some of his disciples seem to have 
followed it up in a still more foolish manner. 

In 1784, the French Government issued a royal 
mandate to the medical faculty of Paris, requiring 
them to investigate the facts and the pretensions of 
the new doctrine. The bulk of the members of this 
famous commission had prejudged the question, and 
like too many of the medical men of our own time, 
were resolved that they would not be convinced. 
The name of the celebrated Franklin is attached to 
the Report that was issued, although it should not 
have been there, as he is said to have been indisposed 
at the time, and to have given little attention to 
what took place. It would serve little purpose at 
this time of day to expose the inconsistencies of this 
Report, and those who feel any curiosity on the sub- 
ject will receive ample satisfaction by referring to 
the pages of Mr. Colquhoun. 

There was one commissioner who refused to con- 
cur in the Report adopted by his brethren. Jussieu, 
a physician of the highest eminence, who devoted 
great attention to the investigation, published a 
special report of his own, presenting an entirely dif- 
ferent view, and conveying an infinitely more fa- 
vourable impression of the subject. 

The blow struck by the French Commissioners did 
not entirely answer the expected purpose. The 
question still continued to excite a high degree of 
interest in that country, but the breaking out of the 
Revolution, and the wars which followed that event, 
turned the public attention in other directions. 

The Marquis de Puysegur, one of the most intel- 
ligent of Mesmer s disciples, to whom the science is 
under deep obligations, was the first to describe the 
state of somnambulism. The Marquis, both at Paris 
and on his estate in the country, devoted himself 
with the utmost zeal to the propagation of the science; 



HISTORICAL SKETCH. 



and the system, as improved by him, was introduced 
into Germany in 1787, through the instrumentality 
of the celebrated physiognomist Lavater. Journals 
devoted to animal magnetism were established in 
France and Germany ; and in those countries, as well 
as in Switzerland, the magnetic treatment has pre- 
vailed, more or less, for the last fifty years. 

Meanwhile, Mesmer had retired to his native 
country, Switzerland, and his death took place on 
the 5th of March, 1815, at Meersburg, on the Lake 
of Constance. His last years were devoted to the 
practice of the magnetic treatment, for the benefit of 
the poor ; and he exhibited his own belief in its effi- 
cacy as a remedy, by submitting to the treatment in 
his last illness, and is said to have experienced from 
it great relief. 

Many men of the highest eminence on the Con- 
tinent of Europe, despite the din of war around them, 
devoted a considerable degree of attention to Mes- 
merism, and in progress of time it began to be heard 
of in the works of the great German physiologists, 
Sprengel, Reil, Authenrieth, and others — names as 
well known on the Continent as those of Harvey or 
Hunter in Britain. In 1817, the practice of Mes- 
merism was by law ordered to be confined to the 
medical profession in the Prussian dominions ; and 
in 1818 the Academy of Sciences at Berlin offered a 
prize of 3340 francs for the best treatise on Mesmer- 
ism. In Denmark, and even in Russia, about the 
same period, the subject was brought under inves- 
tigation, and in the latter country a committee, ap- 
pointed by the Emperor, declared it to be a most im- 
portant agent. These things could not go on without 
challenging investigation in France, from whence the 
first report of a commission had emanated, and, accord- 
ingly, in the year 1826, a new commission of inquiry 
was appointed by the Royal Academy of Medicine of 
Paris. Various obstructions were thrown in the 



6 MESMERISM. 

path of the Commission, but at length, in 1831, the 
Report came forth, acknowledging to the full extent 
the truth of Mesmerism, and adducing a vast body 
of evidence in its behalf. 

In Great Britain little was known of Mesmerism 
down to this period. The unfavourable report of the 
first French Commission was supposed to settle the 
question, and the unhappy wars which ensued de- 
prived us, to a great extent, during many years, of 
the means of intercourse with the Continent. In 
1828 and 1829, the late Mr. Richard Chenevix, a 
gentleman of large fortune and a Fellow of the 
Royal Society, exhibited experiments to many of the 
most eminent scientific men in England; but he was 
scarcely listened to, and, with the exception of Dr. 
Elliotson, no one seems to have cared for his labours. 
Mr. Chenevix published a series of papers, entitled 
" On Mesmerism, improperly denominated Animal 
Magnetism," in The London Medical and Physical 
Journal for 1829, and he was preparing a larger 
work for the press, but, unfortunately for the in- 
terests of science, he was called away by death in 
1830. 

In 1833, Mr. Colquhoun published a translation 
of the French Report of 1831, with a copious in- 
troductory preface. The manner in which his at- 
tention happened to be first called to the subject 
is not a little instructive. A medical friend of Mr. 
Colquhoun's, of high standing in Edinburgh, aware 
of that gentleman's extensive acquaintance with con- 
tinental languages, was in the practice of sending 
him, from time to time, various French and German 
publications. Struck with the fact that these were al- 
most all on animal magnetism, Mr. Colquhoun asked 
his friend one day why he kept sending him works on 
that particular subject. " Because I wish you to take 
it up," was the reply. " Surely," said Mr. Colquhoun 
in return, "it lies much more in your way, as a 



HISTORICAL SKETCH. 7 

medical professor, to do so ; — this is a question for 
the physician and surgeon." The strange rejoinder 
was, " There is Dot a medical man in Britain who 
will dare to take up this subject." Whatever may 
be thought of the pusillanimity of the medical profes- 
sion, we cannot regret that circumstances should thus 
have led to the services of Mr. Colquhoun being 
secured in making Mesmerism known in this coun- 
try. In 1836, Mr. Colquhoun published his Isis 
Revelata in two volumes, a work which exhibits a 
large extent of learning and research ; and the trans- 
lation of the Report of the French Commissioners 
may be consulted in the appendix to the second 
volume. The author was regarded by the bulk of 
men as an idle dreamer, or, at best, as a literary 
man amusing himself with a speculative subject ; and 
little progress was made in opposition to the almost 
universal prejudice that was abroad. 

In 1837, Baron Dupotet, who had practised Mes- 
merism in France, came over to this country ; but 
his efforts were disregarded, until Dr. Elliotson took 
him by the hand. As has been already mentioned, 
Dr. Elliotson had witnessed the experiments of Mr. 
Chenevix, and was glad of an opportunity of renew- 
ing his acquaintance with the subject. The re- 
sults were of the most successful description, many 
cures of a highly singular nature having been accom- 
plished. The jealousy, however, of the medical pro- 
fession was roused, and it was resolved that Mes- 
merism should, if possible, be put down. In conse- 
quence of insults, to which it was impossible to 
submit, Dr. Elliotson resigned, in 1839, his profes- 
sorship in University College, London; and he ceased, 
at the same time, to be physician to the hospital. 
Had he not been a man of great independence of 
mind, he might have been compelled to succumb to 
the cabal raised against him. Not only did he sa- 
crifice the emoluments derived from the hospital and 



8 MESMERISM. 

the professorship, but his practice as a physician was, 
at least for a time, seriously injured. His large 
private fortune, however, happily enabled him to bid 
defiance to the efforts of his opponents with less 
inconvenience than might otherwise have been the 
case ; and he continued his inquiries into Mesmerism 
despite the frowns of his brethren of the profession. 
The success which has attended Mesmerism as a 
curative agent in the hands of Dr. Elliotson, Mr. 
Braid, and others, will be alluded to in its proper 
place in a succeeding chapter. 

In 1840, the Rev. Chauncy Hare Townshend, 
published his Facts in Mesmerism.* Many cases 
of a highly curious and instructive description are 
recorded in Mr. Townshend's volume, which forms a 
valuable contribution to the study of Mesmerism. 

In 1841, M. La Fontaine, a French Mesmeriser, 
came over to this country, and by his visit paved 
the way for much of the success that has since 
attended the subject in the hands of others. 

While in Manchester, towards the close of 1841, 
it so happened, that some of the conversaziones of 
M. La Fontaine were attended by Mr. Braid, a 
highly respectable medical practitioner of that town. 
Attracted by what he saw, the subject was taken up 
with the utmost zeal by Mr. Braid, and the fruits of 
his labours are to be found in the work entitled 
Neurypnology.\ Mr. Braid attempted to bring the 
question forward at the meeting of the British Asso- 
ciation, held in Manchester in 1842 ; but let it never 
be forgotten, that his offer to read a paper, and to 

* Facts in Mesmerism, with Reasons for a Dispassionate Inquiry 
into it. By the Rev. Chauncy Hare Townshend, A.M., late of 
Trinity Hall, Cambridge. London : Longman & Co. 1840. 

*f< Neurypnology ; or the Rationale of the Nervous Sleep, considered 
in Relation with Animal Magnetism. Illustrated by numerous 
cases of its successful application in the relief and cure of 
disease. By James Braid, M.R.C.S.E., CM. W.S., &c. Lon- 
don : John Churchill. 1843. 



HISTORICAL SKETCH. if 

produce as many of the patients as possible, whose 
cases were referred to in proof of the curative agency 
employed, was contemptuously declined by the com- 
mittee of the medical section ! Mr. Braid, we are 
glad to say, undaunted by this unworthy treatment 
on the part of his medical brethren, still continues 
to persevere in the Mesmeric, or, as he terms it, the 
hypnotic method of cure. 

We have already alluded to the works published 
by Mr. Colquhoun ; but the practical investigation 
of Mesmerism may, we believe, be said to have been 
first introduced into Scotland about the year 1839, 
by Mr. Dove, the same gentleman whose lectures, at 
a later period, assisted greatly in directing attention 
to the subject. Mr. Dove's experiments performed 
at that time were witnessed by Sir William Hamil- 
ton, and by Dr. Simpson,* Professor of Midwifery in 
the University of Edinburgh, — both of whom, it may 
be incidentally mentioned, are believers in Mesmer- 
ism, — as well as by others of scientific note. Soon 
afterwards Mr. Dove left Edinburgh, to enter upon 
a literary engagement in Glasgow ; and the prosecu- 
tion of the inquiry was abandoned by him for a 
time. 

In the autumn of 1842, M. La Fontaine visited 
Scotland, and although his audiences were not nume- 
rous, and a considerable amount of rude opposition 
was offered to him, there were nevertheless some who 
profited by what the lecturer presented to their obser- 
vation. The phenomena of Mesmerism were then 
witnessed for the first time by the editor of this little 
volume, and by Dr. James B. Mitchell, a member of 

* Dr. Simpson is the author of the sceptical article on Animal 
Magnetism in the last edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, an 
article which we have often heard referred to as conclusive 
against the pretensions of Mesmerism. At the time the article 
was written, Dr. Simpson knew nothing practically of Mesmer- 
ism ; and although committed so prominently against it, he has 
had the candour to confess, that formerly he was in error. 



1 MESMERISM. 

the medical profession, at that time resident in Glas- 
gow. In order that he might follow up the investi- 
gation, Dr. Mitchell procured an introduction to Mr. 
Dove, as stated in another part of the work in the 

account of the case of Isabella D . This case 

was, so far as we are aware, the first of any import- 
ance which occurred in Scotland. Some articles re- 
garding it, and other cases which succeeded, were 
published in the Glasgow Argus in the early part of 
1 843, and attracted a large share of attention. In 
this manner the first impetus was given to Mesmer- 
ism in Scotland. Lecturers speedily sprung up, and 
went forth in every direction ; and there is now no 
community of the slightest importance in the north, 
which does not contain a numerous body of believers 
in the truths of Mesmerism. Indeed, the members of 
the medical profession are the only individuals who 
may still be said to stand aloof as a class; but as the 
connection between Mesmerism and the healing art 
is discussed in a separate chapter, we will now bring 
this brief retrospect to a close. 



II 



CHAPTER II. 

THEORIES OF MESMER, AND OTHERS. 

Various theories have been from time to time 
promulgated in explanation of the extraordinary 
phenomena of Mesmerism. It was assumed by Mes- 
nier that there was a reciprocal influence continually 
subsisting between the heavenly bodies, the earth, 
and animated nature, through the medium of a cer- 
tain very subtile fluid pervading the whole universe, 
and capable of receiving, propagating, and communi- 
cating every impulse of motion. " The properties of 
matter, and of organised bodies," says Mesmer, " de- 
pend upon this operative principle. The animal 
body experiences the alternative effects of this agent, 
which, by insinuating itself into the substance of the 
nerves, affects them immediately. The human body 
exhibits properties analogous to those of the magnet, 
such as polarity and inclination. The property of 
the animal body, which renders it susceptible of this 
influence, occasioned its denomination of Animal 
Magnetism." 

Mr. Colquhoun, after remarking that the profound 
and interesting researches of those eminent physiolo- 
gists, Reil, Authenreith, and Humboldt, have gone 
far, not only to demonstrate the existence of a ner- 
vous circulation, but even to render probable the ex- 
ternal expansion of this circulating fluid, goes on to 
say, — "Were we, then, to admit the existence of 
this nervous fluid, of its sensible atmosphere, and its 
analogy in other respects to electricity, it does not 
seem to be a very violent or unphilosophical hypo- 



12 MESMERISM. 

thesis to presume that, in certain circumstances, and 
under certain conditions, it may be capable of being 
directed outwards, by the volition of one individual, 
with such energy as to produce a peculiar effect upon 
the organization of another. This hypothesis, too, 
appears to be supported by the fact, that individuals 
possessing sound health and great nervous energy, 
operate, in general, most effectually in the magnetic 
treatment ,* and that weak and diseased persons are 
most susceptible of the magnetic influence, and ma- 
nifest the most extraordinary phenomena. Almost 
all the practitioners of Animal Magnetism, indeed, 
seem to agree in this, that the magnetic treatment 
operates principally, if not entirely, upon the nerv- 
ous system, and particularly upon those nerves 
which are situated in the abdominal region." 

The decision of the French Commissioners of 1784, 
which is generally supposed to have been utterly 
hostile to Mesmerism, was in reality principally 
directed against Mesmer's theory of a fluid. The 
facts, or at least a numerous portion of them, were 
admitted, the theory being the main point of attack. 
The Commissioners tell us — we follow the transla- 
tion in Mr. Townshend's work — 

" That which we have learned, or at least that 
which has been proved to us, in a clear and satisfac- 
tory manner, by our inquiry into the phenomena of 
Mesmerism, is, that man can act upon man at all 
times, and almost at will, by striking his imagina- 
tion ; that signs and gestures the most simple may 
produce the most powerful effects ; that the action of 
man upon the imagination may be reduced to an art, 
and conducted after a certain method, when exercised 
upon patients who have faith in the proceedings." 

The French Commissioners explained the whole 
phenomena by attributing them to the power of 
imagination. The celebrated Cuvier, who fully 
admits the truth of Mesmerism, writes on this point, 



THEORIES OF MESMER, AND OTHERS. 13 

as quoted by Dr. Elliotson in his Human Physio- 
logy,*— 

" We must confess that it is very difficult, in the 
experiments which have for their object the action 
which the nervous system of two different indivi- 
duals can exercise one upon another, to distinguish the 
effect of the imagination of the individual upon whom 
the experiment is tried, from the physical result pro- 
duced by the person who acts for him. The effects., 
however, on persons ignorant of the agency, and 
upon individuals whom the operation itself has de- 
prived of consciousness, and those which animals 
present, do not permit us to doubt that the proxi- 
mity of two animated bodies in certain positions, 
combined with certain movements, have a real effect, 
independently of all participation of the fancy. It 
appears also clearly, that these effects arise from 
some nervous communication which is established 
between their nervous systems." 

In allusion to an investigation into Mesmerism 
made by the well-known Gall, Dr. Elliotson re- 
marks : 

" It being, however, impossible to deny such facts 
of Mesmerism as occur in some nervous diseases, are 
they to be ascribed to mere imagination — an excite- 
ment of the feelings by the gesticulations and proxi- 
mity of the manipulator, or to the operation of an 
unknown power ? Gall admits this power, and even 
does not reject the hypothesis of its connection with 
a fluid. ' How often in intoxication, hysterical, and 
hypochondriacal attacks, convulsions, fever, and in- 
sanity, under violent emotions, after long fasting, 
through the effect of such poisons as opium, hemlock, 
belladonna, are we not, in some measure, transferred 
into perfectly different beings — for instance, into 



* Humav Physiology. Bv John Elliotson, M.D., Cantab., 
F.R.S. Fifth Edition. London : Longman & Co. 1840. 



1 4 MESMERISM. 

poets, actors, &c.' — ' Just as in dreaming, the thoughts 
frequently have more delicacy, and the sensations 
are more acute, and we can hear and answer ; just 
as, in ordinary somnambulism, we can rise, walk, 
see with our eyes open, touch with the hands, &c. ; 
so we allow that similar phenomena may take place 
in artificial somnambulism, and even in a higher 
degree.' c We acknowledge a fluid which has an 
especial affinity with the nervous system, which can 
emanate from an individual, pass into another, and 
accumulate, in virtue of particular affinities, more in 
certain parts than in others.' ' We admit the ex- 
istence of a fluid, the subtraction of which lessens, 
and the accumulation augments, the power of the 
nerves ; which places one part of the nervous system 
in repose, and heightens the activity of another, 
which, therefore, may produce an artificial somnam- 
bulism.' " 

A rigid mathematician, La Place, observes, that 
" of all the instruments which we can employ, in 
order to enable us to discover the imperceptible 
agents of nature, the nerves are the most sensible, 
especially when their sensibility is exalted by parti- 
cular causes. It is by means of them that we have 
discovered the slight electricity which is developed 
by the contact of two heterogeneous metals. The 
singular phenomena which result from the external 
sensibility of the nerves in particular individuals 
have given birth to various opinions relative to the 
existence of a new agent, which has been denomi- 
nated animal magnetism, to the action of the com- 
mon magnetism, to the influence of the sun and 
moon in some nervous affections ; and, lastly, to the 
impressions which may be experienced from the 
proximity of the metals, or of a running water. It 
is natural to suppose that the action of these causes 
is very feeble, and that it may be easily disturbed 
by accidental circumstances ; but because, in some 



THEORIES OP MESMER, AND OTHERS. 15 

cases, it has not been manifested at all, we are not 
to conclude it has no existence. We are so far from 
being acquainted with all the agents of nature, and 
their different modes of action, that it would be quite 
unphilosophical to deny the existence of the pheno- 
mena, merely because they are inexplicable in the 
present state of our knowledge." 

Dr. Elliotson gives his own opinion in these 
words : — 

" I have no hesitation in declaring my conviction 
that the facts of Mesmerism which I admit, because 
they are not contrary to established morbid pheno- 
mena, result from a specific power. Even they are 
sometimes unreal and feigned, and, when real, are 
sometimes the result of emotion — of imagination, to 
use common language ; but, that they may be real 
and independent of all imagination, I have seen quite 
sufficient to convince me." And, after giving the 
particulars of some cases, he thus proceeds : — 

" These are the phenomena which I have wit- 
nessed. To ascribe them to emotion and fancy, to 
suppose collusion and deception, would be absurd. 
They must be ascribed to a peculiar power; to a 
power acting, I have no doubt, constantly in all 
living things, vegetable and animal, but shown in a 
peculiar manner by the processes of Mesmerism." 

These sentences appear in the second part of the 
" Human Physiology," published in 1837, and Dr. 
Elliotson adds in the concluding part in 1 840 : — 

" I have now for three years carefully and dispas- 
sionately investigated the subject by experiments 
performed almost every day upon a variety of per- 
sons ; and I not only repeat my firm conviction of 
the truth of Mesmerism, but of the truth of many 
points in it upon which I formerly gave no opinion, 
because I had not then witnessed them, and was de- 
termined to remain neutral upon every point on which 
I myself did not witness facts. 



16 MESMERISM. 

" The production of the peculiar coma by Mes- 
merism, independently of all mental impressions, is 
a truth now admitted by a very large number of the 
best informed, acutest, and least credulous men in 
England." 

The Rev. Chauncy Hare Townshend, in his " Facts 
on Mesmerism," affirms " that, productive of the 
effects called Mesmeric, there is an action of matter 
as distinct and specific as that of light, heat, electri- 
city, or any other of the imponderable agents, as they 
are called; — that, when the Mesmeriser influences 
his j>atient, he does this by a medium, either known 
already in another guise, or altogether new to our 
experience." 

A theory of a different description has been ad- 
vanced by Mr. Braid, in his ci Neurypnology." 
While attending as a sceptic in Mesmerism the con- 
versaziones of M. La Fontaine, Mr. Braid's attention 
was arrested by the inability of a patient to open his 
eyelids. He says — 

'-' In two days afterwards, I developed my views 
to my friend Captain Brown, as I had also previously 
done to four other friends ; and in his presence, and 
that of my family, and another friend, the same 
evening, I instituted a series of experiments to prove 
the correctness of my theory, namely, that the con- 
tinued fixed stare, by paralyzing nervous centres in 
the eyes and their appendages,* and destroying the 
equilibrium of the nervous system, thus produced the 
phenomenon referred to. The experiments were va- 
ried, so as to convince all present that they fully bore 
out the correctness of my theoretical views. 

" My first object was to prove that the inability 
of the patient to open his eyes was caused by para- 
lyzing the levator muscles of the eyelids, through 

* By this expression I mean the state of exhaustion which fol- 
lows too long continued or too intense action of any organ or 
function. — Note at page 16 of Braid's " Neurypnology." 



THEORIES OF MESMER, AND OTHERS. 17 

their continued action during the protracted fixed 
stare, and thus rendering it physically impossible 
for him to open them. With the view of proving 
this, I requested Mr. Walker, a young gentleman 
present, to sit down, and maintain a fixed stare at 
the top of a wine bottle, placed so much above him 
as to produce a considerable strain on the eyes and 
eyelids, to enable him to maintain a steady view of 
the object. In three minutes his eyelids closed, a 
gush of tears ran down his cheeks, his head drooped, 
his face was slightly convulsed, he gave a groan, 
and instantly fell into profound sleep, the respira- 
tion becoming slow, deep, and sibilant, the right 
hand and arm being agitated by slight convulsive 
movements. 

" This experiment not only proved what I ex- 
pected, but also, by calling my attention to the spas- 
modic state of the muscles of the face and arm, the 
peculiar state of the respiration, and the condition of 
the mind as evinced on rousing the patient, tended 
to prove to my mind I bad got a key to the solution 
of Mesmerism." 

Mr. Braid goes on to detail experiments upon 
Mrs. Braid, and some of his servants, and then pro- 
ceeds : — 

" I now stated that I considered the experiments 
fully proved my theory; and expressed my entire 
conviction that the phenomena of Mesmerism were 
to be accounted for on the principle of a derange- 
ment of the state of the cerebro-spinal centres, and 
of the circulatory, and respiratory, and muscular 
systems, induced, as I have explained, by a fixed 
stare, absolute repose of body, fixed attention, and 
suppressed respiration, concomitant with that fixity 
of attention. That the whole depended on the physi- 
cal and psychical condition of the patient, arising from 
the causes referred to, and not at all on the volition 
or passes of the operator, throwing out a magnetic 

B 



1 8 MESMERISM. 

fluid, or exciting into activity some mystical univer- 
sal fluid or medium." 

Such are the opinions entertained by some of the 
most eminent writers on Mesmerism, and as we are 
almost daily receiving fresh knowledge on the sub- 
ject, there need be no hurry in building up a theory. 
The phenomena of Mesmerism are in themselves true, 
whatever theory may ultimately be adopted, and 
probably inquirers would for the present be most use- 
fully employed in scrutinizing and recording facts, 
and leave the rest to time. 



1.9 



CHAPTER III. 

MESMERIC PHENOMENA AND STATES, 

The Mesmeric phenomena are so varied — as much 
so indeed as there are varieties in human beings — that 
they can only be alluded to here in very general 
terms. The conclusions appended to the Report of 
the second French Commission afford a tolerably 
correct idea of many of the more important of these 
phenomena, and we therefore proceed to lay them 
before our readers, adopting the translation of Mr. 
Colquhoun. 

" CONCLUSIONS. 

" The conclusions of the report are the result of 
the observations of which it is composed. 

" 1 . The contact of the thumbs or of the hands ; — 
frictions, or certain gestures which are made at a 
small distance from the body, and are called passes, 
are the means employed to place ourselves in mag- 
netic connection, or, in other words, to transmit the 
magnetic influence to the patient. 

" 2. The means which are external and visible 
are not always necessary, since, on many occasions, 
the will, the fixed look, have been found sufficient 
to produce the magnetic phenomena, even without 
the knowledge of the patient. 

" 3. Magnetism has taken effect upon persons of 
different sexes and ages. 

" 4. The time required for transmitting the mag- 
netic influence with effect has varied from half an 
hour to a minute. 

" 5. In general magnetism does not act upon per- 
sons in a sound state of health. 



20 MESMERISM. 

" 6. Neither does it act upon all sick persons. 

" 7. Sometimes, during the process of magnetising, 
there are manifested insignificant and evanescent 
effects, which cannot be attributed to magnetism 
alone ; such as a slight degree of oppression, of heat 
or of cold, and some other nervous phenomena, which 
can be explained without the intervention of a par- 
ticular agent, upon the principle of hope or of fear, 
prejudice, and the novelty of the treatment, the ennui 
produced by the monotony of the gestures, the silence 
and repose in which the experiments are made ; 
finally, by the imagination, which has so much in- 
fluence on some minds and on certain organisations. 

"8. A certain number of the effects observed ap- 
peared to us to depend upon magnetism alone, and 
were never produced without its application. These 
are well established physiological and therapeutic 
phenomena. 

" 9. The real effects produced by magnetism are 
very various. It agitates some, and soothes others. 
Most commonly, it occasions a momentary accelera- 
tion of the respiration and of the circulation, fugitive 
fibrillary convulsive motions, resembling electric 
shocks, a numbness in a greater or less degree, heavi- 
ness, somnolency, and in a small number of cases 
that which the magnetisers call somnambulism. 

" 10. The existence of an uniform character, to 
enable us to recognise, in e\rery case, the reality of 
the state of somnambulism, has not been established. 

"11. However, we may conclude with certainty 
that this state exists, when it gives rise to the deve- 
lopment of new faculties, which have been designated 
by the names of clairvoyance ; intuition ; internal 
prevision ; or when it produces great changes in the 
physical economy, such as insensibility, a sudden and 
considerable increa.se of strength, and when these 
effects cannot be referred to any other cause. 

" J 2. As among the effects attributed to somnam- 



MESMERIC PHENOMENA AND STATES. 21 

bulism there are some which may be feigned. Som- 
nambulism itself may be feigned, and furnish to 
quackery the means of deception. 

" Thus, in the observation of these phenomena, 
which do not present themselves again but as insu- 
lated facts, it is only by means of the most attentive 
scrutiny, the most rigid precautions, and numerous 
and varied experiments, that we can escape illusion. 

" 13. Sleep, produced with more or less prompti- 
tude, is a real, but not a constant effect of magnetism. 

" 14. We hold it as demonstrated, that it has 
been produced in circumstances in which the persons 
magnetised could not see, or were ignorant of the 
means employed to occasion it. 

"15. When a person has once been made to fall 
into the magnetic sleep, it is not always necessary 
to have recourse to contact, in order to magnetise 
him anew. The look of the magnetiser, his volition 
alone, possess the same influence. He can not only 
act upon the magnetised person, but even place him 
in a complete state of somnambulism, and bring him 
out of it without his knowledge, out of his sight, at 
a certain distance, and with doors intervening. 

" 1 6. In general, changes, more or less remark- 
able, are produced upon the perception, and other 
mental faculties, of those individuals who fall into 
somnambulism, in consequence of magnetism. 

" a. Some persons, amidst the noise of a confused 
conversation, hear only the voice of their magnetiser. 
Several answer precisely the questions he puts to 
them, or which are addressed to them by those indi- 
viduals with whom they have been placed in mag- 
netic connection ; others carry on conversation with 
all the persons around them. 

" Nevertheless, it is seldom that they hear what 
is passing around them. During the greater part of 
the time, they are completely strangers to the exter- 
nal and unexpected noise which is made close to 



22 MESMERISM. 

their ears, such as the sound of copper vessels struck 
briskly near them, the fall of a piece of furniture, &c. 

" b. The eyes are closed, the eyelids yield with 
difficulty to the efforts which are made to open them. 
This operation, which is not without pain, shows the 
ball of the eye convulsed, and carried upwards, and 
sometimes towards the lower part of the orbit. 

" c. Sometimes the power of smelling appears to be 
annihilated. They may be made to inhale muriatic 
acid, or ammonia, without feeling any inconvenience, 
nay, without perceiving it. The contrary takes 
place in certain cases, and they retain the sense of 
smelling. 

" d. The greater number of the somnambulists 
whom we have seen, were completely insensible. 
We might tickle their feet, their nostrils, and the 
angle of the eyes, with a feather — we might pinch 
their skin, so as to leave a mark, prick them with 
pins under the nails, &c, without producing any 
pain, without even their perceiving it. Finally, we 
saw one who was insensible to one of the most pain- 
ful operations in surgery, and who did not manifest 
the slightest emotion in her countenance, her pulse, 
or her respiration. 

" 17- Magnetism is as intense, and as speedily 
felt, at a distance of six feet, as of six inches ; and the 
phenomena developed are the same in both cases. 

" 18. The action at a distance does not appear 
capable of being exerted with success, excepting upon 
individuals who have been already magnetised. 

" 19. We only saw one person who fell into som- 
nambulism upon being magnetised for the first time. 
Sometimes somnambulism was not manifested until 
the eighth or tenth sitting. 

" 20. We have invariably seen the ordinary sleep, 
which is the repose of the organs of sense, of the in- 
tellectual faculties, and the voluntary motions, pre- 
cede and terminate the state of somnambulism. 



MESMERIC PHENOMENA AND STATES. 23 

"21. While in the state of somnambulism, the 
patients whom we have observed, retained the use of 
the faculties which they possessed when awake. 
Even their memory appeared to be more faithful, 
and more extensive, because they remembered every 
thing that passed at the time, and every time they 
were placed in the state of somnambulism. 

"22. Upon awaking, they said they had totally 
forgotten the circumstances which took place during 
the somnambulism, and never recollected them. For 
this fact we can have no other authority than their 
own declarations. 

" 23. The muscular powers of somnambulists are 
sometimes benumbed and paralysed. At other times, 
their motions are constrained, and the somnambulists 
walk or totter about like drunken men, sometimes 
avoiding, and sometimes not avoiding, the obstacles 
which may happen to be in their way. There are 
some somnambulists who preserve entire the power 
of motion ; there are even some who display more 
strength and agility than in their waking state. 

" 24. We have seen two somnambulists who dis- 
tinguished, with their eyes closed, the objects which 
were placed before them ; they mentioned the colour 
and the value of cards, without touching them ; they 
read words traced with the hand, as also some lines 
of books opened at random. This phenomenon took 
place even when the eyelids were kept exactly closed 
with the fingers. 

" 25. In two somnambulists we found the faculty 
of foreseeing the acts of the organism more or less 
remote, more or less complicated. One of them an- 
nounced repeatedly, several months previously, the 
day, the hour, the minute of the access, and of the 
return of epileptic fits. The other announced the 
period of his cure. Their previsions were realized 
with remarkable exactness. They appeared to us to 
apply only to acts or injuries of their organism. 



24 MESMERISM. 

" 26. We found only a single somnambulist who 
pointed out the symptoms of the diseases of three 
persons with whom she was placed in magnetic con- 
nection. We had, however, made experiments upon 
a considerable number. 

" 27. In order to establish, with any degree of 
exactness, the connection between magnetism and 
therapeutics, it would be necessary to have observed 
its effects upon a great number of individuals, and to 
have made experiments every day, for a long time, 
upon the same patients. As this did not take place 
with us, your committee could only mention what 
they perceived in too small a number of cases to en- 
able them to pronounce any judgment. 

" 28. Some of the magnetised patients felt no 
benefit from the treatment; others experienced a 
more or less decided relief, — viz., one, the suspension 
of habitual pains ; another, the return of his strength ; 
a third, the retardation for several months of his 
epileptic fits ; and a fourth, the complete cure of a 
serious paralysis of long standing. 

" 29. Considered as a cause of certain physiologi- 
cal phenomena, or as a therapeutic remedy, magnet- 
ism ought to be allowed a place within the circle of 
the medical sciences ; and, consequently, physicians 
only should practise it, or superintend its use, as is 
the case in the northern countries. 

" 30. Your committee have not been able to 
verify — because they had no opportunity of doing 
so — other faculties which the magnetisers had an- 
nounced as existing in somnambulists ; but they 
have communicated in their report facts of sufficient 
importance to entitle them to think, that the Acade- 
my ought to encourage the investigations into the 
subject of animal magnetism, as a very curious 
branch of psychology and natural history." 

The report, of which the above form merely the 
conclusions, was signed by Bourdois de la Motte, 



MESMERIC PHENOMENA AND STATES. 2i> 

President ; Fouquier, Gueneau de Mussy, Guersent, 
Husson, Itard, J. J. Leroux, Marc, Thillaye. 

Attempts have been made by many writers to 
classify the states into which patients may pass 
while in the Mesmeric sleep ; but none of these clas- 
sifications has ever met with general approbation. 
The phases of the Mesmeric sleep vary in different 
individuals, and even in the same individuals at dif- 
ferent times. The transition from one state into 
another is sometimes almost imperceptible. The 
boundaries between the different states are not easily 
ascertained; and the states themselves occasionally 
present some minute divergences, and are variously 
complicated. Hence the extreme difficulty of any 
exact classification. Mr. Colquhoun, in his Isis 
Revelata, has given the scheme of Kluge, which is 
divided into six classes ; and the following is the 
abstract, in a slightly altered form : — 

First degree, which has been denominated that of 
waking, presents no very remarkable phenomena. 
The intellect and the senses still retain their usual 
powers and susceptibilities. 

Second degree. — Half sleep, or the imperfect crisis. 
Most of the senses still remain in a state of activity, 
— that of vision only being impaired, — the eye with- 
drawing itself gradually from the power of the will. 

Third degree. — The magnetic sleep. In this de- 
gree the whole of the organs, through the medium 
of which our correspondence with the external world 
is carried on, (the senses,) refuse to perform their re- 
spective functions, and the patient is placed in that 
unconscious state of existence which is called the 
Mesmeric sleep. 

Fourth degree. — Perfect Crisis, or Simple Som- 
nambulism. The patient in this degree awakes, as 
it were, within himself, and his consciousness returns. 
He is in a state which can neither be properly called 
sleeping nor waking, but which appears to be some- 



26 MESMERISM. 

thing between the two. He is placed in the very 
peculiar relation towards the external world, which 
will be better understood after a perusal of the cases 
in a subsequent part of the work. 

Fifth degree. — Lucidity, or Lucid Vision. In 
this degree, which in France has been denominated 
Clairvoyance, and in Germany Hellsehen, the pa- 
tient is placed in what is called the state of self- 
intuition. When in this situation he is said to ob- 
tain a clear knowledge of his own internal mental 
and bodily state — is enabled to calculate, with ac- 
curacy, the phenomena of disease which will natu- 
rally and inevitably occur, and to determine what are 
their most appropriate and effectual remedies. He 
is also said to possess the same faculty of internal 
inspection with regard to other persons who have 
been placed in Mesmeric connection {en rapport) with 
him. 

Sixth degree. — Universal Lucidity. In this de- 
gree, the lucid vision which the patient possessed in 
the former degree becomes greatly increased, and 
extends to objects whether near or at a distance. 
This exalted state of the faculties is said to be of 
comparatively very rare occurrence. 

Another classification has been adopted by Mr. 
Dove, and was explained by that gentleman in his 
lectures on Mesmerism. In this series of states, the 
patient rises from the lowest, that of contemplative 
abstraction, until he at length reaches the highest, 
which has been termed devotional ecstasy. The fol- 
lowing is Mr. Dove's classification : — 

9. Devotional Ecstasy. 

8. Lucid Vigil. 

7. Lucid Reverie. 

6. Lucid Dreaming. 

5. Oblivious Sleep. 

4. Ordinary Dreaming. 

3. Ordinary Reverie. 



MESMERIC PHENOMENA AND STATES. 27 

2. Ordinary Vigil. 

1. Contemplative Abstraction. 

Mr. Dove remarked upon the above classification 
in the following terms in his lectures. 

" Thus, as observed by Mr. Townshend, Mesmeric 
sleep-waking has its shades and gradations, varying 
from consciousness fully retained to its faintest 
twilight, or utter extinction ; and thus, also, as re 
marked by Mr. Colquhoun and others, ' no patient 
can reach the higher degrees of magnetism without 
having previously passed, however rapidly, through 
the lower/ 

" I have most carefully observed, and, as far as 
possible, distinguished, the various mental states, ar- 
ranged in their natural order, as they must be passed 
through, one after the other, in all cases of entrance- 
ment. But it must not be thought that it is those 
states only here called lucid that occur in the pro- 
cess of Mesmerisation. Many, very many, never 
reach so far as the state of lucid reverie, or even 
sleep at all. A vast majority, indeed, will be found 
not farther advanced than simply to a state of surface 
sleep, occupying continuously such a position in this 
natural order as that between ordinary vigilance and 
ordinary reverie, or that of reverie, or continuous and 
involuntary absence of mind itself — a mere shade, 
as it were, being taken off the power and state of 
ordinary waking. Such a state every one of us 
must pass through or cross, however rapidly, on his 
daily way from vigilance to sleep, and on his daily 
return from sleep to vigilance ; and all the difference 
between this state, in such circumstances, and in 
those of Mesmerisation, is, that in the latter case, 
and in consequence of the Mesmeric operation, it is 
steady and continuous for a time in spite of the will, 
while otherwise it is momentary and fleeting — the 
mind and body rather crossing its place than exist- 
ing in it. 



28 MESMERISM. 

" But there is a preliminary stage to even these 
in Mesmeric operations — a stage in which some pa- 
tients linger for a longer or shorter time — a state of 
fixed abstraction, whether momentary or by conti- 
nuance — a state in which the vigilant power of at- 
tention is roused to a deeper pitch of intensity than 
usual, even though the eyelids be closed and the 
body passive — a sort of ultra- vigilant contemplative 
state — in short, described by those who have expe- 
rienced it as comparable to the drawing or bending 
of a bow before the arrow has been shot to the mark. 
And this, I have been assured by others, as well as 
by my own personal experience, is the state in which 
the reactive power of transfiguration is acquired. On 
pointing out this state to Sir William Hamilton, in 
Edinburgh, he was much struck with it, and re- 
marked to me that it reminded him very much of the 
primary effect of opium in producing a state of rapt 
and fixed concentrative abstraction, afterwards fol- 
lowed by the reactive flow of brilliant radiative ima- 
gination, so characteristic of the mental labours of 
the opium eater ; a remark perhaps induced by his 
personal observation of its effects on Mr. De Quincy, 
the celebrated English opium-eater, with whose own 
opinion, moreover, I am well aware it coincides. 

" It is in the state of ordinary vigilance almost 
alone, or in states approximating to it, that there is 
sensibility in the flesh to pain. In some of the states 
evolved or arrested in the Mesmeric operation, there- 
fore, where the individual, of course, is not in ordi- 
nary vigilance, there is no such sensibility except 
through the body of another, who must be in ordi- 
nary vigilance, and who thus, therefore, actually 
stands to the Mesmeric or entranced patient in the 
place of that very self-conscious concentrative power 
of ordinary vigilance, which, in himself, is plunged 
in oblivion, or absorbed in the radiative spirit of the 
trance. It is by the same species of simple " indue- 



MESMERIC PHENOMENA AND STATES. 29 

tion," if we may so call it, that the entranced or ra- 
diative, in favourable or rare circumstances, appre- 
ciates tastes, sounds, smells, and even colours, through 
such co-operation with the concentrative in another, 
in ordinary vigilance, as really exists between the 
concentrative and radiative in each of us, whether 
in ordinary vigilance or not." 

Other classifications have been formed ; but it is 
unnecessary to enter upon these, sufficient having 
been given to indicate the general ideas which are 
entertained by Mesmerisers. 

The state of somnambulism, or of sleep-waking, 
as it has been more appropriately named, is one of 
natural occurrence in man ; but we need not occupy 
space with the host of cases of that description which 
might be brought forward. Regarding this state, 
Mr. Townshend remarks : — 

"That the state of Mesmeric sleep-waking is a 
rise in man's nature, no one who has been conversant 
with it can doubt. 

" Separated from the usual action of the senses, 
the mind appears to gain juster notions, to have quite 
a new sense of spiritual things, and to be lifted nearer 
to the fountain of all good and of all truth. The 
great indication of this elevated state of feeling is a 
horror of falsehood, which I have found common to 
all sleep-wakers. Sincerity is their especial charac- 
teristics ; they cannot feign or flatter ; they seem to 
be taken out of common life, with all its heartless 
forms and plausible conventions." 

These remarks, although referred by Mr. Town- 
shend to the state of sleep-waking, seem more espe- 
cially applicable to that of clairvoyance. In the 
Chevalier Ramsay's Philosophical Principles, a work 
written in the early part of the last century, we find 
some curious glimpses of the truths which Mesmerism 
seems destined to unfold. Let the reader, for ex- 
ample, compare the passage just quoted from the 



30 MESMERISM. 

Rev. Mr. Townshend with the following from the 
work of the Chevalier Ramsay : — 

" God established that beautiful order of nature* 
by which our mortal bodies are subjected to sleep, so 
that the most part of men pass a third part of their 
time in a state of inaction, which suspends the 
augmentation and manifestation of moral evil in the 
bad, the sentiment of physical evil in the good, and 
repairs in all the forces of the body exhausted by 
labour. In a paradisiacal state, sleep, according to 
the primitive fathers, was voluntary and holy. It 
was a mystical, spiritual repose before God, wherein 
the mind, elevated by contemplation, retired into its 
intellectual nature, suspended for a time all com- 
merce with sensible objects, and exerted the noblest 
functions of its angelical part. Sleep was not then, 
as now, a short interval of phrensy, wherein imagi- 
nation is filled with all sort of incongruous ideas ; 
nor, as in some, a total insensibility, where the supe- 
rior faculties remain in a kind of lethargy as well as 
the senses."* 

The poet Wordsworth, too, seems to have pictured 
a similar state in the following lines : — 

" That serene and blessed mood 
In which the affections gently lead us on, 
Until the breath of this corporeal frame, 
And even the motion of our human blood 
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep 
In body, and become a living soul : 
While, with an eye made quiet by the power 
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy, 
We see into the life of things." 

The state of clairvoyance presents phenomena 
which, as described by Mesmerisers, are of so won- 
derful a nature that we need not feel surprised at the 
wide spread scepticism on the subject. Treviranus, 
the famous botanist, said, in reply to the questioning 

* Ramsay's Philosophical Principles, vol. i., p. 372. Glasgow : 
Printed and sold by Robert Foulis. 1748. 



MESMERIC PHENOMENA AND STATES. 31 

of Coleridge, " I have seen what I am certain I 
would not have believed on your telling ; and, in all 
reason, therefore, I can neither expect nor wish that 
you should believe on miner So extravagant, in- 
deed, do many of the accounts on record appear, that 
it would, we are convinced, tend materially, at least 
for a time, to the advancement of Mesmerism as a 
practical and beneficial science, were it possible that 
they could be forgotten. Believing, however, that 
this is impracticable, we have not considered it pro- 
per to suppress, in our record of cases, some extra- 
ordinary details regarding this state. 

The Rev. Mr. Townshend, in approaching this 
branch of the subject, seems to have fully appreciated 
the difficulties with which it is surrounded, and thus 
expresses himself : — 

" The Mesmeriser witnesses the wonder, but does 
not feel it in himself; the sleep-waker, who is the 
subject of it, seems incapable of analysing his new 
sensations while they last, still more of remembering 
them when they are over. The state of Mesmerism 
is to him as death. He cannot, when he awakes, 
reveal the mysteries of that great deep. His Mes- 
meric feelings are to him as though they had never 
been ; and less favoured, in this respect, even than 
they who have beheld him in his unusual condition, 
he is forced to take his own actions upon trust, and 
to exercise his own faith, while he draws so largely 
upon the realising faculty in others. 

" It is manifest, then, that we cannot believe in 
the clairvoyance of sleep- wakers, in the same man- 
ner that we believe and know that we ourselves see 
with our eyes. It is a fact which transcends our 
present understanding. 

" To what end, then, it may be asked, should I 
state phenomena which will be believed by few, and 
perfectly comprehended by none? Because many 
things that are mysteries, are, nevertheless, profitable 



32 MESMERISM. 

subjects of contemplation. Whatever is beyond our 
actual state of being is confessedly out of the pale of 
empirical knowledge ; yet shall we, on that account, 
banish the higher developments of nature from our 
thoughts, or even from our own scientific examina- 
tion ? Were all our ideas confined to that which we 
certainly know, the domain of our intellect would be 
limited indeed. Besides, by careful study, we may 
always extend, though we cannot complete, our appre- 
hension of things above us ; and, by discovering their 
analogy to things already known, bring them at 
least nearer to our experience. Clearly, then, where 
there is so much room for progress it is our duty to 
advance, remembering that the point where we 
should abandon enterprise has not yet been decided." 
Dr. Elliotson, one of the most sceptical among 
the Mesmerisers of this country, seems at length 
inclined to admit, that such a state does really exist. 
In his Human Physiology he records not only his 
failures in obtaining a practical knowledge of clair- 
voyance, but also the success of Mr. Wood, of whom 
Dr. Elliotson says, that he " can place the same 
reliance upon his honour, as upon the coolness and 
force of his judgment." Mr. Wood's case, which is 
described at length in Dr. Elliotson's work, was seen 
at Antwerp in the presence of the Rev. Mr. Town- 
shend, who acted as the Mesmeriser. Dr. Elliotson, 
however, has never had a case of clairvoyance in his 
own experience ; and his opinion, as given to a gen- 
tleman who some time ago visited him in London, 
was to the effect, that while there is every reason to 
believe that such a condition does exist, yet that the 
patient in these cases appears to be so much infected 
with a disposition to deceive, that, as yet, it is 
exceedingly difficult to say when, or upon what occa- 
sions, their statements are to be relied on. In a 
recent communication, in remarking upon this state- 
ment of Dr. Elliotson's, Mr. Dove says, — 



MESMERIC PHENOMENA AND STATES. 33 

" Dr. Elliotsou, while he candidly confesses that 
it has not occurred in his own experience, admits, 
that e there is every reason to believe that such a 
state as that of clairvoyance does exist.' Cases of 
excursive imagination, reverie, or dreaming, how- 
ever, appear to be familiar to him ; and in respect 
to such cases, it must be — since he has admittedly 
not seen clairvoyance itself — that the remark in 
question has been made, that ' the patient in these 
cases appears to be so much infected with a disposi- 
tion to deceive, that as yet it is exceedingly difficult 
to say when, or upon what occasion, their statements 
are to be relied on.' No reliance at all, in fact, 
ought to be placed on statements made by patients 
in such states, which cannot, with any propriety, be 
confounded with the state of clairvoyance, though 
frequently alternating with it, even in the best of 
cases, just as the dreaming state of the mind of an 
infant frequently alternates with its state of vigi- 
lance ; but it does appear to me to be scarcely fair to 
say, that the patient, even in such states of reverie, 
delirium, or dreaming, is infected with a disposition 
to deceive. On being tried, certainly, he will find 
no difficulty in imagining himself possessed of, and 
will accordingly make unhesitating pretension to, all 
the rarer faculties of clairvoyance; but the only 
deception here is self-deception on his own part, and 
on the part of those who listen to, or believe for a 
moment in the existence of such faculties in such 
states. Nevertheless, besides this spirit of strong 
delusion, I believe, that in certain states of reverie 
or delirium there does exist either a deliberate dispo- 
sition to deceive, or an instinctive manifestation of 
cunning, and a peculiar desire to astonish us with 
lying wonders, reminding one of the spirit of decep- 
tion so vividly manifested in the insane ; but such a 
disposition is certainly not characteristic of the lucid 
c 



34 MESMERISM. 

or ecstatic vigil, in which, on the contrary, we have 
a manifestation of the very spirit of truth itself. 

" One general source of perplexity and erroneous 
inference in regard to the Mesmeric phenomena, I 
conceive to be the fact, that states, in themselves 
peculiarly different, and manifesting totally distinct 
symptoms, are often confounded together under the 
heterogeneous title of l - the Mesmeric state/ Such 
a title I find attached to a recent publication by Dr. 
Elliotson himself; and I fear we have the same 
source of erroneous inference manifested in the opi- 
nion which he has given in connection with the very 
remark which has called forth the present explana- 
tion, namely, that ' there can be no doubt that a 
similarity of symptoms attends every case, wherever 
it may appear.' So far from this being the case, 
though a few of the symptoms are manifested in 
common, it must have been seen, amongst nearly 
100 cases in all, which I have of late, from first to 
last, brought under public notice in the city of Glas- 
gow, that some patients manifest peculiar symptoms, 
which do not appear at all in others. Mesmerisers, 
in general, moreover, are in the habit of classifying 
the various states in the natural order of their occur- 
rence, as totally distinct states." 

Mr. Colquhoun, in a letter, with which we were 
lately favoured, says, in allusion to the same topic — 

" The state of clairvoyance is exceedingly rare, 
and when developed by the magnetic processes, ap- 
pears to depend very much upon the particular tem- 
perament of the operator, and the constitutional pre- 
disposition of the patient. The best, and most inte- 
resting cases of the clairvoyant state, are those which 
have occurred naturally, that is, without the employ- 
ment of any artificial means. Of these, one of the 
most remarkable, and the most authentic, is that 
reported by the Baron de Strombeck, published in 
Germany in 1813, and subsequently translated into 



MESMERIC PHENOMENA AND STATES. 35 

French. In England, the inferior magnetic states 
are frequently mistaken for the higher clairvoyance. 
which is a source of much error and scepticism. 

" The alleged propensity to deception in somnam- 
bulists has been remarked by almost all the elemen- 
tary writers, especially in the case of females, and it 
has been generally attributed to their vanity and 
love of display. I suspect it is owing, in a great 
measure, to the importunity or mismanagement of 
the operator, or of those en rapport with the patient. 
I believe it has never been known to occur in the 
highest state of clairvoyance, in which the faculties 
appear to be quite spiritualised. We cannot, how- 
ever, be too cautious in putting questions to somnam- 
bulists, or taxing their powers too much, as they may 
themselves be deceived, and deceive others, without 
intending it. The thoughts and wishes of the opera- 
tor also have great influence over his somnambulist. 
In all cases, we ought to endeavour to discriminate 
as accurately as possible the precise state in which 
the patient may happen to be, in order to ascertain 
what he is capable of doing with certainty." 

An anecdote is related of Colonel Gurwood, the 
editor of " the Duke of Wellington's Despatches," in 
the substantial accuracy of which the utmost reliance 
may be placed. The Colonel, when in Paris some- 
time ago, was induced to visit a somnambulist boy, 
with whom he had repeated conversations. Although 
the boy had never left France, he gave the most 
minute description of Colonel Gurwood's house, 
rooms, closets, and their contents, in London, and 
also of the Colonel's room in the Tower of London. 
The anecdote has, we understand, been narrated on 
the authority of Colonel Gurwood himself, and it- 
may the more implicitly be relied upon from the fact 
of the Colonel being not only a man of the strictest 
truth, but of great soberness of character. The 
statements of a similar nature in succeeding pages, 



36 MESMERISM. 

have all been made by individuals in whose veracity 
the most implicit reliance may be placed. 

To those, however, who reject clairvoyance as be- 
longing to the region of the impossible, we would 
say, do not, therefore, reject Mesmerism as a whole. 
It may be, that sanguine or credulous persons have 
occasionally placed an undue reliance upon the state- 
ments of sleepwakers, but it does not therefore fol- 
low that mankind should be deprived of the benefits 
which Mesmerism is capable of affording. The most 
experienced Mesmerisers tell us, that the state of 
clairvoyance is of rare occurrence, and comparatively 
few consequently can be witnesses of the wonders it 
is alleged to unfold. It is different in regard to the 
other states ; and it would be folly to reject the bene- 
fits within our reach, because of the supposed extra- 
vagances of some of the believers in Mesmerism. 
In the worst view of the matter, clairvoyance is a 
harmless illusion ; and, leaving it for a time, let us 
turn to the consideration of Mesmerism as a reme- 
dial agent, destined, we believe, to ameliorate, in an 
important degree, many of the ills which flesh is 
heir to. 



37 



CHAPTER IV. 

APPLICATION OF MESMERISM TO MEDICAL SCIENCE. 

" Plagiarist ! liar ! impostor ! heretic !" were 
among the expressions of malignant hatred lavished 
upon Galileo, in 1609, as we learn from the record 
of the life of that eminent philosopher. The Pro- 
fessor of Philosophy at Padua refused to look through 
Galileo's telescope to see whether the satellites of 
Jupiter really existed, and he demonstrated to his 
own satisfaction that the facts could not be facts. In 
writing to Kepler regarding this, Galileo says, — 
" 0, my dear Kepler, how I wish that we could 
have one hearty laugh together. Here, at Padua, 
is the principal professor of philosophy, whom I have 
repeatedly and urgently requested to look at the 
moon and planets through my glass, which he per- 
tinaciously refuses to do. Why are you not here ? 
"What shouts of laughter we should have at this 
glorious folly ! and to hear the philosopher of Pisa 
labouring before the Grand Duke with logical argu- 
ments, as if with magical incantations, to draw the 
new planets out of the sky." 

The immediate reward which our illustrious coun- 
tryman Harvey received, upon promulgating the 
doctrine of the circulation of the blood, was general 
ridicule and abuse, and a great diminution of his 
practice ;' and we are told by Hume, that no physi- 
cian in Europe, who, at the time had reached forty 
years of age, ever to the end of his life, adopted the 
doctrine of the circulation of the blood. 



38 MESMERISM. 

Sydenham, another eminent physician, whose im- 
provements form an era in the history of medicine, 
was by many of his contemporaries called a quack 
and a murderer. 

The author of Fallacies of the Faculty* writes as 
follows : — 

" AVhen a limb is amputated, the surgeons, to pre- 
vent their patient bleeding to death, as you all well 
know, tie the arteries. In the time of Francis the 
First, they followed another fashion ; then, and for- 
merly, they were in the habit of stanching the blood 
by the application of boiling pitch to the surface of 
the stump. Ambrose Pare, principal surgeon to that 
king, introduced the ligature as a substitute; he 
first tied the arteries. Mark the reward of Ambrose 
Pare : he was hooted and howled down by the 
faculty of physic, who ridiculed the idea of hanging 
human life upon a thread, when boiling pitch had 
stood the test of centuries. In vain he pleaded the 
agony of the old application ; in vain he showed the 
success of the ligature. Corporations, colleges, or 
coteries of whatsoever kind, seldom forgive merit in 
an adversary ; they continued to persecute him with 
the most remorseless rancour ; luckily, he had a 
spirit to despise, and a master to protect him against 
all the efforts of their malice. What physician now- 
a-days would dispute the value of antimony as a me- 
dicine ? Yet, when first introduced, its employment 
was voted a crime. But was there no reason ? Yes, 
it was introduced by Paracelsus, — Paracelsus, the 
arch-enemy of the established practice. At the in- 
stigation of the college, the French parliament ac- 
cordingly passed an act making it penal to prescribe 
it. To the Jesuits of Peru, Protestant England 
owes the invaluable bark ; how did Protestant Eng- 

* Fallacies of the Faculty. By Samuel Dickson, M.D., late a 
Medical Officer on the Staff. London : Simpkin, Marshall, 
&Ca. 1843. 



APPLICATION TO MEDICAL SCIENCE. 39 

land first receive this gift of the Jesuits ? Being a 
Popish remedy, they at once rejected the drug as the 
invention of the father of all papists — the Devil. 
In 1693, Dr. Groenvelt discovered the curative 
power of cantharides in dropsy ; what an excellent 
thing for Dr. Groenvelt ! Excellent, indeed ! for no 
sooner did his cures begin to make a noise than he 
was at once committed to Newgate, by warrant of 
the President of the College of Physicians, for pre- 
scribing cantharides internally. Blush, most sapient 
College of Physicians ! — your actual president, Sir 
Henry Halford, is a humble imitator of the ruined 
Groenvelt !" 

Lady Mary Wortley Montague, while abroad with 
her husband in Turkey, had become acquainted with 
the practice of inoculation for small-pox, and on 
returning to England in 1718, she attempted to in- 
troduce it into this country. With indomitable cou- 
rage she tried the experiment upon her own children, 
and was in consequence represented as an unnatural 
mother, who cared nothing for her offspring. Lord 
"Wharncliffe, in his life of Lady Mary, tells us that 
" the faculty all rose in arms, to a man, foretelling 
failure, and the most disastrous consequences ; the 
clergy descanted from their pulpits on the impiety 
of thus seeking to take events out of the hands of 
Providence, and the common people were taught to 
hoot at her. We now read in grave medical bio- 
graphy that the discovery was instantly hailed, and 
the method adopted by the principal members of that 
profession. Very likely they left this recorded ; for 
whenever an invention or a project (and the same may 
be said of persons) has made its way so well by itself 
as to establish a certain reputation, most people are 
sure to find out that they always patronised it from 
the beginning, and a happy gift of forgetfulness en- 
ables many to believe their own assertion. But 
what said Lady Mary of the actual fact and actual 



40 MESMERISM. 

time ? Why, that the four great physicians deputed 
by Government to watch the progress of her daugh- 
ter s inoculation, betrayed not only such incredulity 
as to its success, but such an unwillingness to have 
it succeed, such an evident spirit of rancour and ma- 
lignity, that she never cared to leave the child alone 
with them, lest it should, in some secret way, suffer 
from their interference." 

At a later period, when Jenner was endeavouring 
to introduce the process of vaccination, he was assailed 
with the utmost ridicule by the members of the 
learned profession of medicine. Certain members of 
the clerical body discovered vaccination to be anti- 
christ, and the pulpit was the vehicle for fulminations 
against it, in the same manner as at a previous pe- 
riod against the inoculation of small-pox. 

Dr. Chalmers, in speaking of the first reception 
of the Newtonian philosophy, says, " Authority 
scowled upon it, and taste was disgusted by it, 
and fashion was ashamed of it." For more than 
thirty years after the publication of Newton's dis- 
coveries, says Professor Playfair, the Cartesian sys- 
tem kept its ground, and actually the Newtonian 
philosophy first entered the University of Cam- 
bridge under the protection of the Cartesian, by a 
stratagem of Dr. Samuel Clark, who quietly ex- 
plained the views of Newton, without any appear- 
ance of argument or controversy, in the form of notes 
to a new translation which he published of the 
French Cartesian work, long established as the text- 
book by the tutors of the university.* 

When the proposal was made for the introduction 
of gas light, Sir Walter Scott ridiculed the idea, and 
in a letter to a friend, sneered at the folly of those 
who were actually talking of sending light through 
the streets in pipes. Sir Walter, however, had too 

* See Note to Elliotson's Human Physiology. 



APPLICATION TO MEDICAL SCIENCE. 41 

much good sense to deny the existence of the light 
when it was actually produced ; and, besides becom- 
ing the chairman of a gas company in Edinburgh, 
he took advantage of its illuminating power at his 
residence at Abbotsford. Wollaston, the well-known 
man of science, is said to have declared of a similar 
proposal, that they " might as well attempt to light 
London with a slice from the moon." 

Not many years have elapsed since Dr. Lardner, 
at one of the meetings of the British Association, at- 
tempted to demonstrate the impracticability of cross- 
ing the Atlantic by means of steam. The fallacy of 
the doctor's reasoning was soon after made sufficiently 
evident. 

Dr. Elliotson states, in his Human Physiology, 
that when Laennec first published his great work, 
he procured a stethoscope, and investigated his state- 
ments. " For a length of time," he goes on to say, 
" I found some at St. Thomas's treat percussion and 
auscultation with ridicule, some with absolute indig- 
nation, and others, for years, treated it with silent 
contempt, who all, I am happy to say, now practice 
both. I was, therefore, in the habit of studying 
them in the wards alone, and at hours when I ex- 
pected to be unobserved. When I at length advo- 
cated and taught them in the school, one of my col- 
leagues, I heard, pronounced it nonsense, or worse, 
in his lecture ; and, at the College of Physicians, I 
heard a senior fellow, in a Croonian lecture, de- 
nounce the folly of carrying a piece of wood, (some 
called the stethoscope inutile lignum?) into sick 
chambers, and making observations, to the destruc- 
tion of all philosophical and dignified views, such as 
became men whose minds have been enlarged by the 
education which Oxford and Cambridge afford. 
When another fellow of the College was asked his 
opinion of auscultation in the wards of his hospital, 
he at once, as I was informed by the gentleman 



42 MESMERISM. 

who asked the question, condemned it as nonsense, 
and when told that ' Elliotson assured his friends that 
he had a high opinion of it, and made his diagnosis 
of affections of the chest with infinitely more accu- 
racy by its means,' he replied — ' Oh ! it's just the 
thing for Elliotson to rave about !' Yet good sense 
and truth have prevailed. This physician is now 
addressed as one who had the candour to examine 
auscultation at an early period, when others despised 
it, and who materially assisted to spread its adop- 
tion." 

The same eminent medical authority states, that, 
for years after he published his work on Prussic 
Acid in 1820, very few persons would employ it ; 
and he was not only ill spoken of for recommending 
what was useless, but, till very lately, condemned 
for using dangerous poisons. In 1824, the formula 
for Prussic Acid was withdrawn from the new edition 
of the Pharmacopeia, then in course of preparation ; 
u yet," adds Dr. Elliotson, " it is now employed 
universally and daily by good practitioners of all 
ranks." Similar statements regarding Quinine, and 
other remedies now in good repute in this country, 
appear in the work to which we have already re- 
ferred. 

The opposition of the medical profession has been 
as virulently directed against Mesmerism as it was 
formerly against other modes of cure now in daily 
use, and, of course, scarcely any of the medical 
periodicals will admit articles in favour of the ob- 
noxious science. To such a height was the fury of 
these learned and impartial men carried by the re- 
ports of the cures performed by Dr. Elliotson, that 
the council of University College, London, on the 
27th of December 1838, came to the following reso- 
lution : — 

Resolved, w That the Hospital Committee be in- 
structed to take such steps as they shall deem most 



APPLICATION TO MEDICAL SCIENCE. 43 

advisable, to prevent the practice of Mesmerism or 
Animal Magnetism in future within the hospital." 

We have thus the melancholy fact demonstrated, 
that many of the greatest discoveries ever made were 
received at the outset with ridicule and contempt. 
We could conceive an ignorant mob acting in this 
manner, but that men, with any pretensions to 
science, should thus demean themselves, is most 
humiliating to human nature. Yet truly may we 
say with Dryden — 



" Books have spoil'd them, 



For learn'd men are cowards by profession." 

Art of Love-. 

Mesmerism has been scarcely worse treated than 
other sciences, and, having its foundation in truth, 
will as certainly one day be taken under the protec- 
tion of the medical profession in Great Britain, as 
the Newtonian Philosophy was, after an interval of 
thirty years, admitted into the University of Cam- 
bridge. We have heard various theories started by 
way of accounting for this unwillingness on the part 
of medical men, even to inquire into the subject of 
Mesmerism. In an appeal, addressed to them in 
3 838, by Mr. Colquhoun, his ideas are thus given, — 
" It appears," says Mr. Colquhoun, u that there 
are some persons, even of note, members of learned 
incorporations, fellows of royal, and other privileged 
societies, professors in ancient universities, &c, to 
whom, at a certain period of life, the prospect of an 
accession of real knowledge, instead of being agree- 
able and satisfactory, is, on the contrary, rather un- 
pleasant, painful, and humiliating. Every man who 
then ventures to present them with novel facts or 
ideas, or in any way attempts to rectify or extead 
their notions of things, is regarded by them as an 
invader, — a robber, — an enemy to what they have 
been accustomed to conceive to be their vested rights 



44 MESMERISM. 

in literature and science. Goethe, the celebrated 
German poet, is reported to have said, upon some 
particular occasion, that when, from time to time, a 
man arises, who is fortunate enough to discover one 
of the grand secrets of Nature, ten others immediately 
start up, who industriously and strenuously endea- 
vour to conceal it again from view. It is so — was 
— and probably ever shall be. The conflict between 
light and darkness appears to be interminable. The 
race of the obscurantists in politics, in science, and 
in literature, promises to survive to the end of time. 
To use the language of a favourite old author, they 
are exceedingly ' angry with every one that hath 
out-grown his cherry-stones and rattles, speak evil 
at a venture of things they know not, and like mas- 
tiffs, are fiercer for being kept dark.'" 

One medical practitioner of the class so well de- 
scribed by Mr. Colquhoun, has been heard to declare 
that it was sinful to inquire into Mesmerism, and 
therefore he would have nothing to do with it. 
Another has stated that he preferred the authority of 
the eminent men who had written against it even to 
the evidence of his own senses, and there was conse- 
quently no occasion for him to witness any experiments 
in Mesmerism. While a third says that he cannot see 
how medical men should be more called upon than 
other people to look into the matter, and therefore 
he will do nothing. Articles from Encyclopaedias 
and antiquated medical reviews have been diligently 
raked up, and put in circulation, for the purpose of 
disproving Mesmerism. The facts to be seen on every 
side were studiously neglected, and authority was 
appealed to in order to prove that they could not be 
facts. The doctors refused to look through Galileo's 
telescope, and because certain things were written in 
their books, they declined to examine the great book 
of nature for themselves. The old practitioners are 
resolutely opposed to innovation, and the more youth- 



APPLICATION TO MEDICAL SCIENCE. 45 

fill, afraid of the frowns of their seniors, follow ser- 
vilely in their footsteps. It has been widely stated 
that Dr. Elliotson lost a large portion of his practice 
in consequence of his adoption of Mesmerism, and so 
medical men shut their eyes lest a similar fate should 
be theirs. Let them take care, however, that they 
do not keep them shut too long. Although the doc- 
tors may be in the enjoyment of an antimesmeric 
nap, the rest of mankind are tolerably wide awake ; 
and if matters proceed for a short time at the present 
rate, they will soon be the only individuals who, as 
a class, refuse to recognise the truths which Mes- 
merism unfolds. 

In a non-medical work many details cannot be 
expected of the vast variety of cases in which Mes- 
merism may be beneficially applied ; and intelligent 
physicians and surgeons who may be desirous of fol- 
lowing up the subject, will, of course, examine the 
original authorities for themselves. A slight retro- 
spect, therefore, of what has been accomplished is all 
that seems necessary here. 

The case of the lady whose breast was amputated 
for cancer, while in the Mesmeric sleep, by M. Jules 
Cloquet, is recorded in the report of the second 
French Commission, and has been frequently re- 
published in this country. Attempts have of late 
been made to call the truth of the narrative in ques- 
tion, but they have merely brought disgrace upon 
the journals which gave currency to the unfounded 
statements. An analogous case, reported by the 
Doctors Hamard and Oudet, was noticed about the 
year 1837, in the Journal de Medecine et de Chi- 
rurgie. 

On the 22d of November, 1842, the Royal Medi- 
cal and Chirurgical Society of London were presented 
with an " account of a case of successful amputa- 
tion of the thigh, during the Mesmeric state, without 
the knowledge of the patient," in the District Hos- 



4<> MESMERISM. 

pital of Wellow, Nottinghamshire. The Mesmeriser 
was W. Topham, Esq. Barrister of the Middle Tem- 
ple :" the operator, W. Squire Ward, Esq., surgeon 
of Wellow Hall. The patient was a labourer, six 
feet high, and forty-two years of age, named James 
Wombell. The details appeared in many of the 
journals at the time, and it is therefore unnecessary 
to repeat them. Those who are desirous of further 
information may consult a pamphlet by Dr. Elliotson, 
entitled " Numerous Cases of Surgical Operations, 
without Pain, in the Mesmeric State." * The com- 
ments of Dr. Elliotson upon the discussion which 
took place after the reading of the paper, and upon 
the resolution of the Society at a subsequent meet- 
ing, not to leave a trace in their records that this 
fact had been presented to them, are, no doubt, se- 
vere, but seem amply justified by the conduct of the 
members. 

Mr. Gardiner of Portsmouth, in a communication 
to the Hampshire Telegraph, dated the 9 th of De- 
cember 1841, gives the case of a young lady who 
had a couple of teeth extracted while in the Mes- 
meric sleep. He says, " Mr. Martin (a dentist of the 
town) seized the tooth (a molar or jaw tooth) with 
the forceps, — purposely prolonged the wrench, (as 
agreed upon by Dr. Engledue, prior to his visit, in 
order to test thoroughly the insensibility of the 
patient,) and drew forth the tooth. Not a pang or 
symptom of suffering! In a short time I restored 
the patient to her natural state, in the usual manner. 
Upon being told that the tooth had been extracted, 
she exclaimed, ' Did I feel it ! ' — a singular greeting 
to a dentist's ears ! Mr. Martin then proceeded to 
examine her mouth, and suggested the removal of 



* Numerous Cases of Surgical Operations, wit/iout Pain, in the 
Mesmeric State. By John Elliotson, M.D., Cantab., F.R.S. 
London : H. Balliere. 1843. 



APPLICATION TO MEDICAL SCIENCE. 4? 

another tooth. The patient laughingly consented, 
and sat again. In one minute and a half I again 
entranced her, and she became, of course, insensible 
as before. The tooth being in an advanced stage of 
decay, was crushed under the instrument, and the 
remnants were, with much trouble, extracted. Dur- 
ing the whole of this trying operation not a groan 
or complaint escaped the patient." 

Mr. Prideaux, a surgeon of Southampton, in a 
letter addressed to Dr. Elliotson, describes the case 
of a patient who had a great number of decayed teeth 
and stumps, from which she suffered severely, but 
who still could not summon resolution to undergo 
their extraction. "While in the Mesmeric sleep, and 
at various sittings, Mr. Prideaux extracted, in all, 
from the mouth of this patient, eleven teeth and 
eleven stumps, the last being removed preparatory 
to her being supplied with a set of artificial teeth. 
During the sitting at which two of the most trouble- 
some teeth were extracted, Mr. Prideaux says, 
" The patient sat with the hands quietly folded in 
the lap — the countenance was placid and serene, and 
the whole attitude that of repose." The other sittings 
were attended with equally satisfactory results. Mr. 
Prideaux mentions several other cases, and he states, 
regarding one of these, — " A fifth patient, on whom 
I have operated during the Mesmeric state, is a 
young lady who required to have several of her mo- 
lares separated with a file, on account of the com- 
mencement of decay, and one stopped. I found her 
a most troublesome and restless patient, in her 
natural state, shrinking when the cavity of her tooth 
was touched, and complaining greatly of the unplea- 
santness of the sensation of filing. I succeeded in 
entrancing her at the first trial, in about five minutes, 
and, in this state, she allowed me to operate for two 
hours with the most passive indifference, assuring me 
she felt nothing, except a slight sensation of heat, 



48 MESMERISM. 

when the file was used rapidly and continuously for 
sometime together." 

Mr. Carstairs of Sheffield, besides extracting teeth, 
in the " case of a lad about twelve years of age, 
opened a large abscess behind the ear, inserted a 
dossil of lint, and dressed the wound, without the 
patient being sensible of pain." With like success, 
he has " cut a large wart from the back of a female's 
hand," and, in another case, inserted a seton, without 
the slightest pain. 

Dr. Engledue of Southsea, gives the following 
case in a letter to Dr. Elliotson, dated December 
1st, 1842:— 

" Miss K., aet. 17, had suffered for two years 
from a variety of symptoms, the result of spinal irri- 
tation. The right knee was slightly contracted from 
the commencement of her illness, but, for twelve 
months preceding the operation, the contraction was 
so complete, that it was quite impossible to separate 
the heel from the back part of the thigh. 

" For nearly three months she was regularly mes- 
merised by Mr. Gardiner ; all the symptoms were 
very much relieved, and some altogether removed, 
by this treatment. The knee-joint, however, con- 
tinued firmly contracted. I shall not now enter 
into a description of the reasons which prompted me 
to perform the operation of division of the tendons 
at the back of the knee-joint ; my only object is to 
report that the operation was performed during the 
mesmeric trance, and without any manifestation of 
feeling. Some hours after the operation, the patient 
was demesmerised ; there was no expression of 
astonishment, and no remark made, till some spots 
of blood on the sheet of the bed attracted her atten- 
tion. The proceedings were then explained to her, 
and the effect can be more easily imagined than de- 
scribed." 

Dr. Charlton, assistant-surgeon, Royal Marines, 



APPLICATION TO MEDICAL SCIENCE. 49 

in a statement, dated, Melville Hospital, Chatham, 
June 9th, 1842, wherein he says that he had pre- 
viously disbelieved Mesmerism, gives the case of 
Mrs. Gregory, nurserywoman to Mrs. Valiant, the 
lady of Captain Valiant, 40th Regiment. The pa- 
tient, Dr. Charlton states, who had been " for a long 
time suffering from decayed teeth, which caused 
much constitutional irritation, applied to me early in 
May, complaining of headach, and pain in the upper 
jaw of the most excruciating kind. On examina- 
tion, the gums were found ulcerated, the alveolar 
processes carious on the right side, and presenting 
numerous spicula of bone projecting through the 
gums, which were exquisitely painful on the slightest 
pressure with the finger. Filing off the spicula of 
bone was advised, and consented to. The perform- 
ance of the operation having been proposed while 
she was under the influence of Mesmeric sleep, was 
undertaken on the 25 th of May in the presence of 
Sir Thomas Wiltshire and Captain Valiant of this 
garrison. Sleep was speedily induced by Sir Thomas, 
and she was pronounced in a fit state to bear the 
operation in half an hour. 

"An incision was made on either side of the 
alveolar processes extending from the incisor to the 
molar teeth, dividing the gums, which were turned 
back so as to expose the diseased bone. The spicula, 
being considered the principal source of annoyance, 
were filed off smooth with the jaw, the gums ap- 
proximated, and creosote applied to the carious 
points. The filing occupied fully five minutes. The 
patient, however, to my great astonishment, evinced 
not the slightest feeling from the operation, and con- 
tinued undisturbed in the enjoyment of profound 
sleep for one hour, at the expiration of which time 
she was awaked by Sir Thomas, appearing as if 
aroused from a dream. Some minutes elapsed before 
perfect consciousness became restored, when she ex- 



50 MESMERISM. 

pressed herself incredulous that any operation had 
been performed on her jaw, being quite free from all 
pain." 

Dr. Elliotson himself, in the course of the work 
already mentioned, which we would recommend to 
the medical profession, as giving particulars that 
cannot be entered into here, mentions the case of a 
patient whom he found labouring under a very severe 
form of St. Vitus's dance of nine years duration. 
Dr. Marshall Hall prescribed " mustard cataplasms 
to the spine, cupping on the back of the neck every 
fifth day, and mercury to such an extent that not one 
sound tooth is left in the patient's head." He treated 
the case for three months, and wished to continue 
his plan for a ticelvemonth. The friends, however, 
interfered, and Sir Benjamin Brodie was consulted, 
" who condemned the treatment in the most unquali- 
fied manner, declined to prescribe medicines, or to 
see the patient again, and stated that nothing more 
could be done than to endeavour, by every means, 
to strengthen the debilitated frame. Dr. Hall, how- 
ever, wrote a letter, still in the possession of the 
family, maintaining his opinion, and treating Sir 
Benjamim Brodie's opinion most contemptuously." 
On being consulted, Dr. Elliotson advised that, " as 
Mesmerism had been begun, it should be continued 
rather than the case be abandoned ; though I en- 
treated them not to be disappointed, if no good 
resulted." And he adds, " For the last four months, 
Mesmerism has been daily persevered with ; and 
the gradual but steady improvement in the strength, 
the sleep, and looks of the patient, and the decline 
of the disease, astonishes every one. Now that Dr. 
Hall has learned the improvement by Mesmerism, 
he says that he all along (while cupping every five 
days, and giving mercury freely, and proposing to 
do all this for twelve months !) suspected, and is 
now (Mesmerism having done great good) perfectly 



APPLICATION TO MEDICAL SCIENCE. Ol 

certain that the case was feigned! I should like to 
observe his countenance when he says so." 

In the Zoist* for July 1843, Dr. Elliotson gives 
reports of cures of the same complaint in the practice 
of Dr. Simpson of York, Mr. Prideaux of South- 
ampton, and also in his own. The case of Master 
Linnell of Northampton, nine years of age, had 
baffled a great number of medical men, when at 
length application was made to Dr. Elliotson. 

" On January 4th, 1843," says the Doctor, " he 
was brought in a coach to me, and obliged to be 
carried into the house. Supported by his mother, he 
walked with great difficulty from my dining-room 
into my library. 

u His debility was such, that he could not stand 
a moment unsupported ; his head hung on one side ; 
his tongue out of his mouth, which constantly slob- 
bered ; his look was quite fatuitous ; he could not 
articulate, making only inarticulate noises, and these 
with extreme difficulty : even yes and no were said 
in the strangest manner, so as hardly to be under- 
stood. He often fell into a passion at not being able 
to articulate ; he ground his teeth and sighed greatly, 
continually blew bubbles of saliva from his mouth, 
and moved his tongue. The movements of the 
disease had lessened, so as not to be in proportion to 
his extreme muscular debility. He could use neither 
hand for any purpose, and scarcely ever raised the 
right. He was low-spirited and fretful, and often 
cried almost without cause. 

"His tongue was clean and moist, his appetite 
good, and his bowels in the most healthy condition ; 
his pulse was 74. 

" He cried sadly at being brought to me, thinking 
that I should give him loads of physic to swallow, 
and blister him, as others had done. 

* The Zoist ; a Journal of Cerebral Physiology and Mesmerism. 
Published quarterly. London : H. Balliere. 



52 MESMERISM. 

" I Mesmerised him by vertical passes before his 
face for half an hour. He sat well supported in an 
easy chair, his head on his breast ; but he sat so 
quietly in comparison icith his usual state, that his 
mother noticed it. He was Mesmerised daily for 
the same time in the same way." 

Dr. Elliotson proceeds to narrate the progress of 
the cure until the 1 5th of February, when the patient 
was Mesmerised for the last time — and thus con- 
cludes, — 

" Nothing could be more decisive of the power of 
Mesmerism than this case. The disease was getting 
worse and worse at the time I began. An effect 
was visible in a few days ; the benefit steadily in- 
creased — and from being a slobbering, idiot-looking 
child, his head hanging on one side, unable to speak 
or stand unsupported, in three weeks he could stand 
easily, and walk five miles. Not a particle of medi- 
cine was given after the first day. 

' f The true gratitude of the boy and his mother 
was delightful. But my medical reward was, that 
the surgeon who attended him, and whose very name 
I had never before heard of, gave way to such bad 
feeling as publicly to attack me, by reiterating a silly 
and ignorant string of sentences from a very dull and 
feeble medical periodical called the Provincial Jour- 
nal, but took care to omit all mention of the case 
which led to his hostility." 

The cases of Dr. Simpson and Mr. Prideaux, upon 
which we cannot enter, were of an equally satisfac- 
tory description. 

In cases of insanity, Mesmerism has been fre- 
quently applied with highly successful results. The 
following is from Dr. Elliotson's Human Physio- 
logy :— m 

" I witnessed a remarkable cure of violent perio- 
dical insanity by Mesmerism. A young man had 
every evening, for two or three weeks, been attacked 



APPLICATION TO MEDICAL SCIENCE. o3 

with the most violent insanity, which lasted many 
hours. Several straps were required across his bed, 
and, in addition to these, three persons to restrain 
him. His howlings always alarmed the neighbour- 
hood. After a time, he had a stage of whistling, 
and an uniform series of changes was always gone 
through before the sleep came on in which the fit 
always ended. Strong dozes of strong medicines, 
and various means, had completely failed. I was 
called in, and saw him during his paroxysm. I 
Mesmerised him for three quarters of an hour in 
vain, and he made many attempts to bite me. I 
requested Mr. Chandler of E-otherhithe to Mesmer- 
ise him the following and every night before the fit 
began. This gentleman was so obliging as to accede 
to my request, and perfectly cured his patient, who 
at first laughed at such a mode of treatment, and 
declared that he had experienced nothing, though, 
on the first night that Mr. Chandler Mesmerised 
him, the fit was entirely prevented ; and in a few 
nights the Mesmeric process presently brought on 
sleep, from which he quickly awoke into the fit, and 
the fit became shorter and shorter, and milder and 
milder. By Mesmerising him still, after the com- 
mencement of the fit, sleep again came on, from 
which he was awakened, by transverse passes, into 
his healthy state. By inducing the Mesmeric sleep, 
the fit could be brought on at pleasure in the day, 
and as it was more inconvenient in the evening, Mr. 
Chandler always brought it on early in the after- 
noon, and by Mesmerising him always in the fit, 
this was put an end- to sooner and sooner, till at 
length it was arrested instantly, and then ceased to 
return. The cure was effected in a very short time. 
At the end of a year, through a fall, the disease re- 
turned, but was cured by Mesmerism very quickly." 
The details of this case, and of several others, in 
which Mesmerism was beneficially applied in the 



54 MESMERISM. 

cure of insanity, were at an after period transmitted 
by Dr. Elliotson to the Zoist, where they may be 
consulted by those who feel desirous of pursuing the 
inquiry farther. 

The work of Mr. Braid, entitled Neurypnology, 
contains accounts of a great number of highly inter- 
esting cases. The phenomena induced by his mode 
of producing sleep, and that of the Mesmerisers, Mr. 
Braid, for a considerable time, conceived to be iden- 
tical, and he still believes " the condition of the ner- 
vous system induced by both modes to be at least 
analogous ;* but he has latterly been led to think that 
the agencies are distinct, because the Mesmerisers 
assert that they can produce certain effects which he 
has never been able to accomplish by his mode. 
Perhaps, therefore, medical gentlemen who had 
formed a determined resolution to have nothing to 
do with Mesmerism, may be tempted to bestow a 
few minutes' consideration upon the merits of Neu- 
rypnology. They will meet in Mr. Baird's volume 
with none of the ugly words which used to form 
such stumbling-blocks in their path. The name of 
Mesmerism is rejected, but then they have Hypnot- 
ism, which means nervous sleep. Instead of to Mes- 
merise, they have to Hypnotise, which means to 
induce nervous sleep; and instead of Mesmerised, 
they have got Hypnotised, meaning one who has 
been put into the state of nervous sleep. These 
changes will, we hope, please our medical friends, 
and induce them to turn a favourable eye to the 
cases which Mr. Braid has laid before them. 

Hypnotism has been applied by Mr. Braid to 
numerous diseases, and seemingly with great success. 
He has tested its efficacy in cases where the senses 
of hearing, sight, and smell were affected. In tic- 
doloureux, spine complaints, paralysis, rheumatism, 
both chronic and acute, nervous headach, epilepsy, 
and several other diseases, he has also found it highly 



APPLICATION TO MEDICAL SCIENCE. 55 

beneficial. Several cases of spasmodic affection are 
referred to as affording "strong grounds to hope 
that tetanus, hydrophobia, and other analogous affec- 
tions, may be arrested and cured by this agency." 
While Mr. Braid's treatise was passing through the 
press, the above predication was happily realised in 
respect to the former " intractable and generally fatal 
disease." We extract the following account of the 
case from the preface to the work : — 

" Master J. B., thirteen years of age, was suddenly 
attacked with chilliness and pain all over his body, 
on the evening of 30th of last March. I was called 
to attend him the following day, when I considered 
he had got a febrile attack from cold, and prescribed 
accordingly. Next day, however, it had assumed a 
very different aspect. I now found I had got a 
severe case of opisthotonos to deal with. The head 
and pelvis were rigidly drawn back, the body form- 
ing an arch, and the greatest force could not succeed 
in straightening it, or bringing the head forward. 
Whilst the spasm never relaxed entirely, it frequently 
became much aggravated, when the head was so 
much drawn back as to seriously impede respiration. 
The legs were also sometimes flexed spasmodically. 
The effect of the spasm in obstructing the respira- 
tion, and hurrying the circulation, was very great, 
and seemed to place the patient in great jeopardy. 
The pulse was never less than 150, but during the 
paroxysm was considerably increased. It was evi- 
dent I had got a most formidable case to contend 
with, and that no time ought to be lost. I there- 
fore determined to try the power of hypnotism, well 
knowing how generally such cases end fatally under 
ordinary treatment. He was quite sensible, and 
the only difficulty in getting him to comply with 
my instructions arose from the recurrence of the 
severe spasmodic attacks. In a very few minutes, 
however, I succeeded in reducing the spasm, so that 



56 MESMERISM. 

his head could be carried forward to the perpendicu- 
lar, his breathing was relieved, his pulse consider- 
ably diminished, and I left him in a state of compa- 
rative comfort. In about two and a half hours after 
I visited him again, accompanied by my friend Dr. 
Cochrane. The spasms had recurred, but by no 
means with the same violence. Dr. Cochrane had 
no difficulty in recognising the disease ; but did not 
believe any means could save such a case. He had 
never seen a patient hypnotised till that afternoon, 
and watched my experiment with much interest and 
attention. He seemed much and agreeably surprised 
by the extraordinary influence which an agency so 
apparently simple exerted over such a case. The 
pupil was speedily dilated, as if under the influence 
of belladonna ; the muscular spasm relaxed, and in a 
few minutes he was calmly asleep. Having ordered 
three calomel powders to be given at intervals, we 
left him comfortably asleep. Next day, there was 
still spasm of the muscles, but by no means so severe. 
Whilst I determined to follow up the hypnotic treat- 
ment, which had been so far successful, I considered 
it would be highly imprudent to trust wholly to 
that in the treatment of such a case. As I consider 
such cases are generally attended with inflammation 
of the medulla oblongata, and upper part of the 
spinal cord, I bled him, and ordered the calomel to be 
continued. The same plan was persevered in, hyp- 
notising him occasionally for some days, administer- 
ing calomel till the gums were slightly affected, cold 
lotion to the head, and the antiphlogistic regimen, 
till I considered all risk of inflammatory action past, 
when he was treated more generously, and I am 
gratified to say he is now quite well." 

In conclusion, Mr. Braid remarks, — " I feel quite 
confident that without the aid of hypnotism, this 
patient would have died. I sincerely wish it may 
prove equally successful in other cases of the kind, 



APPLICATION TO MEDICAL SCIENCE. D / 

and also that hitherto fatal disease hydrophobia.* 
My anxiety to see it fairly tried in the latter disease 
induces me to offer my gratuitous services in any 
case of that disease occurring within a few hours' 
journey of Manchester." 

One of the cases of spasmodic affections — that of 
Miss Collins of Newark — which led Mr. Braid to 
think that his mode of treatment might prove suc- 
cessful in the case just quoted, is thus recorded by 
the father of the patient. 

1,4 My daughter, sixteen years of age, had been 
afflicted for six months with a rigid contraction of 
the muscles on the left side of the Deck to so great a 
degree, that it would have been impossible to insert 
an ordinary card between the ear and shoulders, so 
close was their contact ; and consequently she was 
rapidly becoming malformed. She had had the best 
advice to be procured in the country, and I had 
taken her to London with a written statement of the 
treatment previously employed, and had the opinion 
of Sir Benjamin Brodie, who approved of what had 
been done, but gave no hope of speedy relief. 

" In consequence of seeing a report of a lecture 
given on the subject by Mr. Braid, surgeon, St. 
Peter's Square, Manchester, and a letter written to 
that gentleman by Mr. Mayo of London, I went with 
her, by the advice of Dr. Chawner, who, indeed, 
accompanied us, and placed her under the care of 
Mr. Braid, on Thursday evening, the 24th March 
last, (1842.) In less than a minute after that gentle- 
man began to fix her attention she was in a Mes- 

* We learn from the Zoist, that in 1837, a case of hydrophobia 
having occurred at Paddington, Mr. W ood offered his services, 
and although the disease was too far advanced for Mesmerism to 
have any chance of curing it, the boy being within twelve hours 
of his death, the effects were nevertheless satisfactory. This, 
taken in connection with the statements of Mr. Braid,' will, we 
trust, lead to further trials being made when this dreadful disease 



.58 MESMERISM. 

meric (neurohypnotic) slumber, and in another mi- 
nute was partially cataleptic. Mr. Braid, then, with- 
out awaking her, and consequently without giving 
her any pain, placed her head upright, which I 
firmly believe could not, by any possibility, have 
been done five minutes before, without disruption of 
the muscles, or the infliction of some serious injury ; 
and, I am thankful to say, it not only continues 
straight, but she has the perfect control over the 
muscles of the neck. A nervous motion of the head, 
to which she had been subject after her return from 
Manchester, has entirely ceased, and she is at present 
in excellent health. It is necessary to remark, that 
at Dr. Chawner's recommendation she was frequently 
watched while asleep, but not the slightest relaxation 
was observed in the contracted muscles. 

" Many respectable persons can bear testimony to 
the statements here made. 

(Signed) " James Collins. 
" Newark, llth May, 1842." 

Mr. Braid himself gives the following explanation 
of the manner in which he treated this case. 

" After the eyes had been closed, and the limbs 
extended for about two minutes, I placed my left 
hand on the right side of her neck, and my right 
hand on the left side of her head, and, by gentle 
means, gave a new direction to the sensorial and 
muscular power, and was thus enabled, by art, rather 
than mechanical force, in less than half a minute, to 
incline the head from the left to the right of the mesial 
plane. The muscular contraction being thus excited 
on the right side of the neck, in muscles which had 
been inactive for six months previously, was the 
surest and most natural mode of withdrawing the 
power from their antagonists, and reducing the 
spasm of the contracted muscles on the left side. 
After allowing the patient to remain two minutes 



APPLICATION OF MEDICAL SCIENCE. 59 

supporting her head, now inclined towards the right 
by her own muscular efforts, to give them power on 
the principle already explained, I aroused her in my 
usual way by a clap of my hands." 

And Mr. Braid subsequently adds : — 

" After the lapse of a year, Mr. Collins was so 
kind as write to inform me his daughter continued 
in perfect health, with complete control over the 
muscles of the neck." 

Mr. Braid gives reports of cases, amounting to be- 
tween sixty and seventy, in the various branches of 
disease which we have enumerated, and which we 
hope his medical brethren will have the candour to 
receive, in the manner they merit, as coming from an 
intelligent member of their own profession. It is 
really time that the disgraceful, and, in some in- 
stances, unprincipled, opposition offered by medical 
men to Mesmerism should cease. What, for example, 
is to be said regarding such conduct as the following : 

M I consider it necessary," says Mr. Braid, in his 
preface, " to explain that my reason for having in- 
serted some cases attested by the patients, and others, 
is, that most unwarrantable interferences have been 
resorted to by several medical men, in order to mis- 
represent some of them. In one instance, in order 
to obtain an attested erroneous document, the case 
was read to the patient, and others present, the 

VERY REVERSE OF WHAT WAS WRITTEN. However 

extraordinary such conduct may appear, the fact of 
its occurrence was publicly proved and borne testi- 
mony to by the patient and other parties present 
on the occasion when the document was obtained" 

Surely it is for the honour of the profession that 
such atrocious proceedings should be universally 
scouted, and that the vilest of calumnies should no 
longer be propagated in order to damage the hated 
name of Mesmerism. 

It was but the other day that a medical practi- 



60 MESMERISM. 

lioner in Glasgow stated not only that the Okeys', 
the well-known patients of Dr. Elliotson, were im- 
postors, but that the Doctor had publicly confessed 
it to be so at a medical society in London. Listen 
to what Dr. Elliotson states on this head in his Nu- 
merous Cases, published in 1843. 

" The cases of both sisters were genuine through- 
out, similar but very differently modified, and it was 
ignorance only which led any one to doubt them, and 
it was heartless cruelty to slander two perfectly vir- 
tuous and afflicted female children, who had been 
carefully brought up, and had lived only with their 
parents, and afterwards in a respectable family, till 
they were seized with epilepsy. * * * The 
display of disreputable unacquaintance with this kind 
of case, and the composition of vulgar tirades by so 
many professional men pretending to medical know- 
ledge, was precisely the conduct which we witness 
in the streets when a deranged or imbecile person is 
pursued and hooted by boys and rabble, as though he 
were master of his own condition and conduct, and 
not the subject of an affliction profoundly interesting 
to the philosopher and to the man who can feel for 
others. Every thing stated or ever printed to their 
disadvantage was an absolute falsehood ; I repeat 
these words emphatically, an absolute falsehood" 

He adds, a little further on, — 

u To accuse patients of imposition is very easy. 
But it is a very vulgar, as well as cruel, habit, 
founded on ignorance, presumption, and heartlessness. 
We should never prefer such an accusation on light 
grounds; and, to be assured of the grounds, we should 
be well acquainted with the subject. He who is ig- 
norant of a subject is surely not justified in giving 
an opinion ; and yet medical men, and others, be- 
cause they are ignorant of the phenomena of the more 
wonderful and uncommon diseases of the nervous 
system, and of Mesmerism, preposterously pronounce 



APPLICATION TO MEDICAL SCIENCE. 61 

the subjects of them imposters, and those, who know 
the truth, to be fools, or rogues, or in league with 
the devil. It was the same cause which made the 
people pronounce Democritus mad, when he looked 
for the source of insanity in the brain ; to pronounce 
Roger Bacon a sorcerer, who knew physical facts of 
which they were ignorant ; to ascribe epilepsy, St. 
Vitus's dance, and numerous other diseases, to demo- 
niacal possession ; to ascribe the phenomena of elec- 
trical and galvanic apparatus to the agency of spirits, 
as the savage supposed there must be a spirit inside 
the watch." 

An able literary and political journal, the Ex- 
aminer, in remarking upon the conduct of the me- 
dical profession on this question, says, — 

" If, as we apprehend to be the case, the existence, 
of certain phenomena, undoubtedly of great interest 
and probably of great importance in a physiological 
view, is pretty generally admitted to be the result 
of recent experiments, it is high time to cease calling 
names, and begin rational discussion. The treat- 
ment to which Dr. Elliotson has been exposed from 
the time these questions were started, the members 
of a liberal calling should surely have reserved for 
the interested quack, or the vain pretender. There 
had been as little of either in the career of this dis- 
tinguished physician, as in that of the foremost mem- 
ber of the profession he had so long assisted and 
adorned. Policy and worldly considerations apart 
— no man had better claims to be respectfully lis- 
tened to. His admitted learning, his foregone re- 
cognised discoveries in medicine, his unimpeached 
veracity and high character, as they qualified him 
for that course which only the few are at any time 
fit to take, should have saved him from those vulgar 
imputations which the many are at all times prone 
to indulge." 

It is surely time that the word of an intelligent 



62 MESMERISM. 

physician or surgeon — of a man whom the world 
would believe, without hesitation, on any ordinary 
topic — should be at once received when he unfolds 
truths of grave import to society. It is surely time 
to abandon implicit confidence in certain dogmas to 
be found in books, and to walk abroad and behold 
" the visible and living world." 

" Nothing," says Sir Humphrey Davy, " has so 
much checked the progress of philosophy, as the 
confidence of teachers in delivering dogmas as truths, 
which it would be presumptuous to question. It 
was this spirit which, for more than ten centuries, 
made the crude physics of Aristotle the natural phi- 
losophy of the whole of Europe. It was this spirit 
which produced the imprisonment of the elder Bacon, 
and the recantation of Galileo. It is this spirit, not- 
withstanding the example of the second Bacon, 
assisted by his reproof, his genius, and his influence, 
which has, even in later times, attached men to 
imaginary systems, — to mere abstracted combina- 
tions of words, rather than to the visible and living 
world ; and which has often induced them to delight 
more in brilliant dreams, than in beautiful and grand 



What says the eminent philosopher, Dugald 
Stewart, of those phenomena from which the bulk 
of medical men turn aside in disdain ? 

" Among all the phenomena, however," says 
Dugald Stewart, " to which the subject of imitation 
has led our attention, none are, perhaps, so wonder- 
ful, as those which have been recently brought to 
light, in consequence of the philosophical inquiries 
occasioned by the medical pretentions of Mesmer 
and his associates. That these pretensions involved 
much of ignorance, or of imposture, or of both, in 
their authors, has, I think, been fully demonstrated 
in the very able report of the French academicians ; 
but does it follow from this, that the facts witnessed 



APPLICATION TO MEDICAL SCIENCE. C3 

and authenticated by those academicians should share 
in the disgrace incurred by the empirics who dis- 
guised or misrepresented them ? For my own part, 
it appears to me, that the general conclusions esta- 
blished by Mesmer's practice, with respect to the 
physical effects of the principle of imitation, and of 
the faculty of imagination, (more particularly in cases 
where they co-operated together,) are incomparably 
more curious, than if he had actually demonstrated 
the existence of his boasted fluid. Nor can I see 
any good reason why a physician, who admits the 
efficacy of the moral agents employed by Mesmer, 
should, in the exercise of his profession, scruple to 
copy whatever processes are necessary for subjecting 
them to his command, any more than that he should 
hesitate about employing a new physical agent, such 
as electricity or galvanism. The arguments to the 
contrary, alleged by the commissioners, only show, 
that the influence of imagination and of imitation is 
susceptible of a great abuse in ignorant or in wicked 
hands ; and may not the same thing be said of all 
the most valuable remedies we possess ? Nay, are 
not the mischievous consequences which have actu- 
ally been occasioned by the pretenders to animal 
magnetism, the strongest of all encouragements to 
attempt such an examination of the principles upon 
which the effects really depend, as may give to 
scientific practitioners the management of agents so 
peculiarly efficacious and overbearing?"* 

Facts, which were thus spoken of by Dugald 
Stewart, and which have engaged the attention of 
such minds as those of La Place, Cuvier, Treviranus, 
Sprengel, Agassiz, Coleridge, Shelley, Chenevix, 
Elliotson, Mayo, and Sir William Hamilton, cannot 
certainly be unworthy the investigation of the mem- 
bers of a literary and learned profession. In the 

* Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind. London, 
1827. Vol. iii., pp. 221, 222. 



64 MESMERISM. 

words of Hufeland, the celebrated German physi- 
cian, when writing upon this subject, — " We stand 
before the dawning of a new day for science and 
humanity, — a new discovery, surpassing any that 
has been hitherto made, which promises to afford us 
a key to some of the most recondite secrets of nature, 
and thus to open up to our view a new world." 
Since these words were penned, something has been 
done to introduce this science into Great Britain. 
In defiance of frowns and persecution, Dr. Elliotson 
has practised Mesmerism, and he has latterly been 
joined by some men who esteem it an honour to suf- 
fer in so holy a cause. The reports of cases which 
they have published, and the work of Mr. Braid, to 
which we have already referred, will surely at length 
arrest the attention of even the most obdurate. A 
leading difficulty we know to be, that many have 
expressed strong opinions in opposition, and now 
have not the manliness to confess they have seen 
evidence of those opinions having been erroneous. 
Where is the shame of men acknowledging they 
know more this year than last ? The medical pro- 
fession are a stubborn and stiff-necked generation ; 
but accumulated facts will compel them to yield and 
move onward. The sooner they do so, the better for 
their own credit, as well as for the welfare of those 
who repose confidence in their opinions. Whatever 
may be their decision, the ultimate triumph of the 
great truths of Mesmerism is secure. 



65 



CHAPTER V. 
CASES. 



ISABELLA D- 



This case, the first, we believe, to which Mes- 
merism was regularly applied in Scotland as a cura- 
tive agent, has been already slightly alluded to in 
the brief historical sketch in the first chapter. The 
physician, under whose advice the Mesmeric treat- 
ment was applied, was Dr. James B. Mitchell, at 
that time a resident in Glasgow, — Mr. Dove being 
the Mesmeriser. 

It was Dr. Mitchell's intention to have prepared a 
narrative of the case for the press; but he some- 
what suddenly departed on a tour to the East, 
with the task only in part completed. He had, 
however, kept a regular journal during the pro- 
gress of the Mesmeric treatment ; and the previous 
history of the case had been obtained by him from 
the relations of the patient. These documents were, 
immediately before his departure, handed over by 
Dr. Mitchell to the editor of the present volume, 
with permission to lay them before the public in 
whatever form he considered most suitable. The 
introduction is given precisely in the words of Dr. 
Mitchell; but the editor has taken the liberty of 
considerably abridging the journal, more especially 
in the latter portion, leaving out the notice of cer- 
tain matters, only appropriate in a strictly medical 
work. Other particulars have been added, after the 



66 MESMERISM. 

close of the journal, by gentlemen who had occa- 
sional opportunities of visiting the patient. 

We commence with Dr. Mitchell's introductory 
narrative : — 

" Having had my attention called to the subject 
of Mesmerism by the appearance of M. La Fontaine 
in Glasgow, I was anxious to ascertain, from actual 
observation, the real nature of the phenomena said 
to be produced by certain manipulations. After 
looking about for some time for a fit patient, I at 
length heard of one that promised to be very sus- 
ceptible, according to the experience of most Mes- 
merisers. This was a young woman subject to con- 
vulsive fits, of a very anomalous nature, which had 
long withstood all the ordinary plans of treatment. 
On hearing of this case, I caused the Mesmeric 
treatment to be proposed to the friends of the patient 
as a probable means of cure, and with some little 
persuasion, (as they had never even heard of such a 
thing,) they were induced to consent to give it a 
trial. 

" When I made up my mind to prosecute the in- 
quiry into the merits of Mesmerism, I had been so 
fortunate as to have procured an introduction to Mr. 
J. E. Dove, a gentleman whom I knew to have had 
a great deal of experience in the practice of Mes- 
merism ; and on getting permission to put it to the 
test in the above case, he was so kind as offer to 
give me all the assistance in his power, and accord- 
ingly was prevailed on to become the operator him- 
self during the necessary term of treatment. 

"The 11th of January (1843) was fixed on for 
the first visit. Accompanied, then, by Mr. Dove 

and Mr. , a medical student, who had lately 

had the management of the case, I proceeded, on 
the evening of that day, to the residence of the 

patient, at D works, near Glasgow, of which 

her father was at the time foreman, and there, for 



CASES. t)7 

the first time, had an opportunity of seeing her. 
The patient was equally a stranger to Mr. Dove, 

" We found her to be a young woman of 28 years 
of age, of a lively disposition, pale in the complexion, 
and of a nervo-lymphatic constitution ; but, at the 
same time, stout and fleshy in the frame. Her gait was 
strongly indicative of pain when she began to move 
about ; she stooped a little forward, and appeared to 
have a habit of keeping one of her hands firmly 
pressed on her side, as if for the relief of some uneasi- 
ness felt in the part. There was a marked unsteadi- 
ness of the head when addressing any one, and she 
exhibited a considerable degree of nervousness on 
our first entrance. 

" We had not been long in the room when she 
was attacked with one of her fits. It announced 
itself by a sort of yawn ; her eyes were shut, and 
the head was slightly thrown back. The arms then 
began to twist about, and in a few seconds afterwards 
they became quite stiff, and being forcibly extended 
by the side, they there remained in a permanent state 
of rigidity, into which, by this time, the whole body 
had likewise passed. The fit went off in the course 
of two or three minutes, with a yawn similar to that 
which had ushered it in. 

" During its continuance, she was apparently 
quite unconscious ; and on recovering, she said she 
had no recollection of any thing that had passed 
from the accession of the paroxysm. While under 
its influence, she was insensible to ordinary stimuli ; 
aud her friends declared, that they had never suc- 
ceeded in rousing her out of a fit. She complained 
of fixed pain in the left side, and in the shoulder 
of the same side, which, she said, was sometimes 
subject to very marked aggravations, invariably ac- 
companied by an increase of the severity of the fits. 
Her bowels have been long habitually costive, and 
the catamenia have always been more or less irregu- 



68 MESMERISM. 

lar. The pulse was 130 on her recovery from the 
paroxysm. 

" We learned from the patient's friends, that she 
has been subject to the fits we just witnessed for 
about twelve months, and that for several years pre- 
vious she had been liable to almost daily seizures of a 
somewhat similar nature, in which the whole body, 
but especially the upper extremities, were violently 
convulsed, without, however, passing into the state 
of rigidity which characterizes the fits that have 
occurred latterly. These twisting fits (as the pa- 
tient's friends call them) were much more violent 
to appearance than the rigid ones, and not unfre- 
quently when under their power it was found impos- 
sible, even with the united strength of two or three 
individuals, to keep her down on a bed to prevent 
her hurting herself. 

" The fits she now labours under, although not so 
distressing to look at, render her quite as useless as 
did these more violent paroxysms ; and as they have 
been increasing very much of late in frequency, the 
poor girl has become a very great burden on her 
friends, as she has to be constantly watched for fear 
of being seized unawares, — the only premonitory 
symptom of the fits being the deep-drawn sigh, 
already mentioned as preceding the fit we saw. A 
short time previous to our visit, the paroxysms had 
been so frequent, as to extend to the almost incredi- 
ble number of from sixty to seventy fits in one day, 
and at present they are not much less frequent. 
The patient has not been out of the house for about 
a twelvemonth, and even in the house, she can 
hardly be trusted to do the easiest household work. 

" We gathered from the family the following par- 
ticulars of the past history of the case : — 

" In the year 1 824, when patient was about nine 
years of age, she injured her left foot by a fall, and 
by the advice of an acquaintance it was kept con- 






CASES. 69 

stantly moistened with vinegar for some considerable 
time, which, unfortunately caused the skin to give 
way. By a proper change of dressing the sore soon 
healed up, but the foot ever afterwards continued 
painful on being used, and at present requires the 
use of a soft shoe made on purpose. About a year 
after this accident, she was suddenly seized with 
acute pain of side and spasm, for which she was bled 
by Dr. Craig of the High Street, and ordered some 
common medicines, and, in a day or two, recovered 
her ordinary health. She remained well for four 
years after this, when she went to give some assist- 
ance to a friend in keeping her house, at which time 
she was again attacked with pain of side. Dr. 
Buchanan of Gorbals saw her on this occasion ; he 
bled her, and applied some leeches to her side, and 
she again recovered. When seventeen years of age, 
she went to work in the warehouse of a Mr. Auld, 
a manufacturer, and while there she received a severe 
blow on the left side, by which she was consequently 
laid up once more with the former symptoms, accom- 
panied, however, now by a most acute pain in left 
shoulder, and an extreme degree of sensibility in the 
skin of back, and both shoulders. The merest touch 
of the skin on these parts caused the most excruciat- 
ing pain ; and so very sensitive did the external sur- 
face become, that the approximation of any object to 
her body, even at the distance of half a foot, although 
she was not otherwise aware of it, made her start as if 
actually struck. Dr. Craig, who was called in, bled 
her, applied leeches, and used various other remedial 
measures, but with little relief of the symptoms. 
Dr. Watson was sent for : he ordered her blisters to 
the side and shoulder, with considerable advantage 
for the time. Shortly afterwards, however, she be- 
came much worse, when the bleeding and blistering 
was again resorted to by Dr. Thomson of Bridge ton, 
but with no decided good effect. She could go about, 



70 MESMERISM. 

but was still suffering under her old symptoms. In 
this state she paid a visit to Dr. Thomson for the 
purpose of consulting him, and while in his shop she 
was suddenly seized with a sort of fainting fit, and 
had to be taken home in a coach, and remained in a 
state of complete unconsciousness during the entire 
night. Dr. Craig was sent for; she was bled at 
the arm by him, and gradually came round ; but he 
had to remain in attendance for a considerable time 
afterwards. Patient now continued to be subject to 
attacks of pain of side and shoulder, which, from 
time to time, became seriously aggravated, but always 
again, at intervals, abated. In one of these attacks, 
which took place when patient was about twenty 
years of age, she consulted Dr. Samuel Clarke, who 
prescribed for her various internal and external re- 
medies, during a considerable period of time, but 
with little or no permanent improvement. Not long 
after Dr. Clarke's treatment was given up, the symp- 
toms becoming much aggravated, Dr. Hannay was 
consulted, but he found the case so inveterate, and 
so little under the influence of remedial measures, 
that he very soon gave up attendance. At this 
period her chief symptoms were pain of side and 
shoulder, extreme sensibility of the skin, habitual 
constipation, irregular and insufficient menstruation, 
and, at intervals, seizure of a sort of faint, during 
which she entirely lost her consciousness for several 
hours at a time. It was now recommended her to 
try the public dispensary, at that time open for pa- 
tients in Gordon Street. There Mr. Alan Burns 
prescribed cupping, a liniment to be rubbed on the 
back, and a tonic mixture to be taken three times 
a-day. On returning home from the dispensary she 
was attacked with one of the fainting fits, during the 
continuance of which she had involuntary twitches 
and tremours of the arms. Dr. Craig again saw her, 
and once more bled her, but with no advantage. She 



CASES. 71 

remained, till about three years before our visit, much 
in the same condition, sometimes worse and some- 
times better, dozed from time to time, and occasion- 
ally bled, when one of her brothers died. This made 
a strong impression on her, and caused a return of 
all her worst symptoms, together with repeated at- 
tacks of the fainting fits ; on this occasion she was 
again bled at the arm. The faintings now became 
more frequent, and continued so, with occasional re- 
missions, for a twelvemonth. Rather less than two 
years previous to our first visit, she went to assist in 

D House, and while there, employed at heavy 

work, was suddenly seized with most violent head- 
ach, with increased pain of shoulder and sensitive- 
ness of skin. These symptoms were soon followed 
by a severe attack of the fainting fits, which then 
became even more frequent than formerly. Patient 
was visited both by Dr. Clarke and Dr. Craig. 
They ordered her head to be shaved, and her back to 
be rubbed with strong brine. From this time she has 
been always more or less subject to attacks of acute 
headach. Towards the close of the year 1841 the 
fainting fits began to be uniformly accompanied by 
tremulous motions of the upper extremities, which 
gradually passed into twisting movements, and ulti- 
mately settled down into regular convulsive pa- 
roxysms. In December of that year, Dr. H. Rainy 
was consulted for the fits. He prescribed various 
sorts of pills and mixtures during two months that 
patient continued under his care, but with no appa- 
rent advantage ; for, at the time she was in the habit 
of going to consult him, the attacks became both 
more frequent and more severe, and at last obliged 
her to confine herself to the house, after which her 
mother continued to report her state to the doctor, 
and to conduct the treatment according to his orders. 
Patient now had so many as three or four attacks of 
fits in the course of a week, and these of so violent 



1 2 MESMERISM. 

a character, that it sometimes required several per- 
sons to prevent her injuring herself while in the con- 
vulsions. Dr. Crawford of Calton took the manage- 
ment of the case. A large blister was applied along 
the whole course of the spine, and appeared to afford 
considerable relief to the pain of shoulder, and by the 
use of blisters, the pain of the side was made to 
change its position ; but these were but temporary- 
effects. Bleeding and blistering were continued at 
intervals, the head was kept shaved, and a great 
variety of tonics prescribed up to the time of our visit ; 
but during that period the paroxysms only changed 
from bad to worse. In August 1842, while labour- 
ing under a very severe attack, it was recommended 
to try a warm bath. This was accordingly done, 
but she had hardly got into the bath when she was 
seized with fits of a most violent description, differ- 
ing in character from any she had before. In these 
fits the convulsive twisting of the body only lasted a 
very few seconds, and then passed into most complete 
rigidity, in which state patient would sometimes re- 
main for several hours, although usually the fit did 
not last above a quarter of an hour. These paroxysms 
gradually became much more frequent and numerous, 
and have continued up to the time of our visit. 
Shortly prior to this they amounted to the incredible 
number of from sixty to seventy fits in the course of 
a day. As the state of rigidity became more fully 
developed, the morbid sensibility of the skin disap- 
peared, and has never since returned. The pain in 
side and shoulder has continued as formerly, up to 
our visit; and although during one fortnight she 
was quite free of fits the pain never left her." 

So much for the past history of the case. We now 
proceed with Dr. Mitchell's journal, commencing 
with the first visit, on 

January 11, 1843. — We had not been long with 
our patient, before she was seized with one of the 



CASES. i 3 

fits. It came on with a yawn, followed by slight 
convulsive movements of the muscles of the face, im- 
mediately succeeded by extension of the extremities, 
and fixed rigidity of the whole muscular system. 
This state continued for two or three minutes, with, 
at intervals, some spasmodic action of the arms, and 
then passed off with another yawn. Having waited 
about a quarter of an hour after her recovery, Mr. 
Dove being seated in a chair opposite patient, com- 
menced making the usual passes with both hands, 
held at about two inches from the body, beginning 
at the head, and continuing them along the trunk 
and arms. He had hardly made half a dozen passes, 
when the patient was seized with another fit, and the 
operation was continued during the fit without any 
apparent effect at the time. This paroxysm was in 
every respect similar to the former one, up to the 
yawn with which the fits generally terminated, when, 
instead of recovering immediately the use of her 
senses, her muscles began gradually to relax, and 
from the state of general rigidity, she passed into 
one exactly resembling ordinary sleep, excepting 
that occasionally there were a few convulsive twit- 
ches in both arms. The same sort of manipulation 
was Dext applied to the right arm, with a view to quiet 
the twitching, and repeatedly after three or four 
passes, the desired effect was produced. We tried 
the same kind of passes upwards along the arm, and, 
we thought, with better effect. In order to ascer- 
tain if she was sensible to sound, her name was 
called loudly in her ear ; but she gave no sign of 
hearing. On repeating the call in a louder tone, she 
all at once awoke with a start, as from a deep sleep. 
On being asked if she had any feeling different from 
common, she said that she had a curious sensation in 
her right arm : she farther said, that she heard us 
speak to her just before awaking ; but felt unable to 



74 MESMERISM. 

give an answer. The mother of the patient stated, 
that in the fits it is impossible to make her hear. 

A few minutes afterwards, while talking together 
on the result of this trial, the patient went off again 
of her own accord into the state of sleep she had just 
awoke from. At first there was no rigidity of the 
muscles ; but after a little while, a fit appeared to 
come on, for the left arm became stiff, then the head, 
and in immediate succession the legs and trunk : the 
right arm alone remained disengaged, and in as per- 
fect a state of relaxation as before the accession of 
the fit ; for a very short time only it got rigid down 
to the wrist, but soon recovered its mobility. The 
attack terminated with a sort of gurgling sound in 
the throat. During the fit, the manipulation was 
continued from time to time both to body and arms : 
it was now left off. 

A very severe attack soon followed, with consider- 
able convulsive action of the arms and trunk, going 
the length of opisthotonos. This shortly subsided into 
complete rigidity. The right arm alone again con- 
tinued unaffected : it remained perfectly supple, and 
capable of performing voluntary motion, as was 
shown by the patient putting her right hand to her 
mouth. Without any passes having been made since 
the accession of the paroxysm, it appeared to be pass- 
ing off into the state of sleep, when severe hysterical 
coughing came on, and continued without intermis- 
sion, till some Mesmeric passes were made, when it 
ceased, and was succeeded by a state of quietness, 
interrupted only occasionally by a single cough, and 
accompanied with rather audible breathing. The 
manipulation discontinued, another paroxysm of 
coughing took place, which roused her out of the fit. 
Passes recommenced, and a state of quietude again 
produced, with occasional coughing and yawning. 
"While in this state, cough appeared to be twice ar- 



CASES. 75 

rested, by the hands of the operator being held 
steadily on the shoulders of the patient ; but this was 
as often tried without effect. In a few minutes she 
returned to the natural state, but the cough continued, 
and a remarkable want of power in the tongue was 
experienced. Her mother states, that patient has 
had no cough since the commencement of the fits. 

January 12. — Pulse 130, feeble. Since yesterday 
has had several fits, but none of great severity. In 
none of them has the right arm become rigid, like 
the rest of the body ; and she could, in one of them, 
distinguish the voice when spoken to. 

At three minutes past seven, the patient being 
seated as before, in an arm chair, in front of the ope- 
rator, Mr. Dove commenced by taking hold of both 
hands of patient, at the same time desiring her to 
look him steadily in the face. In one minute sleep 
was induced. She was perfectly quiescent, no rigi- 
dity, breathing rather deep, pulse 130. While in 
this state some passes were made along both arms, 
in a downward direction, without contact, without 
any perceptible effect. At twenty-two minutes 
past seven some convulsive movements took place ; 
the legs became rigid, but both arms remained relaxed, 
as had happened with the right one on the preced- 
ing evening. At twenty-seven minutes past seven 
patient commenced throwing her arms about, and 
shortly afterwards convulsive twisting of the whole 
body took place, accompanied by distressing hyste- 
rical cough, which lasted for two or three minutes, 
when she again relapsed into the quiescent sleep. 
She was now asked to make a motion with her right 
hand if she heard us speak, and immediately she 
gave a sign. "When asked if she could not speak she 
shook her head, opened her mouth when told to do 
so, and nodded when asked if she was comfortable. 
At thirty-two minutes past seven a few convulsive 
movements appeared, but terminated in two minutes, 



76 MESMERISM. 

with slight cough, whereupon she awoke. On awak- 
ing, patient declared that she could not tell whether 
she had been asleep or awake, as she never before 
had been in the same state. 

The Mesmeric operation was again repeated, at 
twelve minutes to eight, by holding the hands, as in 
the former trial, and in half a minute patient was 
asleep. An attempt was made to cause the rigidity 
to reappear in right arm, as formerly when in the 
fit, by making passes along the arm, with the hand 
of the operator in contact. After a few passes, the 
arm was forcibly extended, and became perfectly 
rigid. On some passes being made in an upward 
direction along the same arm, without contact, we 
found that it would retain any position in which it 
was placed, in fact, that it had become cataleptic. 
The forearm, placed in a semi-bent position, remained 
there without support. The hand was then raised 
so as to point upwards, and it retained that position ; 
the forefinger was made to point, while the rest of the 
hand remained clenched. A few downward passes, 
without contact, having been made, catalepsy disap- 
peared; being repeated, with contact, rigidity was 
produced ; relaxation followed a few upward passes ; 
rigidity reproduced by downward passes without 
contact, which passed off into relaxation by a repe- 
tition of upward passes. On the upward passes 
being continued the cataleptic state was again in- 
duced. At ten minutes past eight there occurred 
slow stretching of the arms, like that of a person just 
awakened from an extemporary nap, and legs be- 
came stiff, but patient soon fell again into her former 
state of quiet sleep, without becoming rigid, and even 
without a yawn. 

The operator now directed transverse passes, with- 
out contact, to the head, and slight cough came on, 
but patient did not awake. Some upward passes 
made along the whole body, after which a slight de- 



CASES. 77 

gree of catalepsy was discerned. Transverse passes 
to the head proceeded with, and the thumb of opera- 
tor carried along the eye-brows from within out- 
wards, (constituting, in fact, passes with contact,) 
when patient awoke with a slight cough. 

On recovering, she said that her sensations during 
the sleep had been very agreeable. 

January 13. — At seven and a half minutes past 
seven operator commenced by contact of the hands, 
as on the preceding evening. In two minutes, 
patient's head fell back in sleep, and she was in a 
state of perfect tranquillity, excepting that there was 
observable a slight tremulous motion of the eye- 
lidsi Loud noises, such as calling aloud close to the 
ear, clapping the hands, &c, appear to be unheard, 
but the lowest whisper at the ear causes patient to 
start. At twenty-five minutes to eight a fit was 
ushered in by a few convulsive movements of the 
body. In this attack, which was not strong, both 
arms were exempt from the general rigidity. She 
had some cough as it was leaving her. In the Mes- 
meric sleep some degree of catalepsy was observed 
in both arms. Downward passes, with contact, were 
made along right arm, and rigidity followed; up- 
ward passes, with contact, appeared to increase the 
rigidity. Downward passes, without contact, brought 
about relaxation. At five minutes to eight, trans- 
verse passes, without contact, followed by three or 
four rubs along the eye-brows, were directed to 
patient's head, when she instantly awoke. 

At two minutes past eight went gently off in a 
fit. Head, as well as arms, remained in a state of 
relaxation, and legs less stiff than hitherto. Fit 
lasted two minutes. 

Patient says, that formerly, when she came out of 
a fit her limbs felt stiff and uneasy, but this time she 
has not any of these sensations. 

At seven minutes past eight patient was again put 



78 MESMERISM. 

to sleep as before. While in the sleep she started on 
being called in a gentle whisper. Another fit came 
on in which the legs and trunk only were affected with 
stiffness. During the fit, upward passes, without 
contact, directed to the legs and trunk, had the effect 
of producing convulsive twitches in the legs, lessening 
in some degree their rigidity. At nineteen minutes 
to nine patient was awakened as before. 

On coming out of the sleep she complained of great 
pain of right side ; she was, therefore, again thrown 
into the sleep, which was very placid. Some con- 
vulsive action of the body ushered in another fit, in 
which there was increased rigidity of the legs and arms. 

About five months ago, before the fits were so 
fully developed, patient says she had pain in the 
right side, which has since shifted to the left, where 
it has remained till now. 

January 14. — Fits milder, shorter, and less frequent 
since yesterday ; some pain in right side. 

Shortly after we arrived, patient had a fit, in which 
the arms, head, and neck were free, but the legs and 
trunk still engaged. On coming out of it, there was 
observable a tremulous motion of the arms and head, 
but none of the legs ; yawning as formerly. This 
fit did not last long. On recovering, the Mesmeric 
manipulation was resumed, and she fell asleep at 
twenty-seven minutes past seven, two minutes after 
the commencement of the operation. Arms catalep- 
tic, and some tendency to that state exhibited in the 
legs. At twenty-five minutes to eight another fit 
came on. During its continuance there took place 
a tremulous motion all over the body. The legs still 
remained stiff; the arms were cataleptic ; and there 
was no sign of sensibility to the voice, either in a 
loud tone or whisper. The fit terminated in three 
minutes. The legs and body were manipulated down- 
ward, without contact. Some passes were made 
along right arm, downwards, with contact, and ri- 



CASES. 7.9 

gidity was the consequence ; some, with contact 
upwards were made, and relaxation followed. In 
the cataleptic state, passes conducted downwards, 
with contact, produced rigidity, and upwards, laxity, 
after a few passes; a few more upwards brought 
back the pliant catalepsy. At three minutes past 
eight there was a very imperfect fit. On again be- 
coming tranquil, right arm was manipulated down- 
wards, with contact, and tense rigidity brought on, 
continued and pliant catalepsy produced, persevered 
in and rigidity followed, by the same process taken 
away, again produced, and once more made to dis- 
appear, each succeeding alternation requiring less ma- 
nipulation, till one or two passes were sufficient to 
make the one state pass into the other. The right 
leg was now manipulated in the same manner, and 
the same phenomena were exhibited. A fit came on 
while the leg was in the state of rigidity, and both it 
and the left leg were rigid during the paroxysm, 
but no other part of the body except the trunk. By 
a few passes, with contact along eyebrows, the fit 
was removed. The left leg, in its turn, was put 
through the same process with the same result, the 
number of passes requisite to change the one state 
into the other gradually diminishing from seven to 
two. At twenty minutes past eight a fit occurred, 
during which the right leg remained disengaged. In 
two minutes it passed off, and left leg and body re- 
gained their mobility. Had another slight attack, 
with a little coughing. In this fit manipulations 
applied to the left leg produced no alteration on its 
rigidity. Passes, with contact made down back, pro- 
duced intense rigidity of the whole body; passes conti- 
nued, brought on relaxation ; repeated, rigidity caused 
again, and persevered in, relaxation re-established. 

On being awakened, patient declares, that she has 
no recollection of anything since she last fell asleep. 

January 1G. — Fits much milder, and not more 



80 MESMERISM. 

frequent since the 14th. The only rigidity that oc- 
curs now is a little in left leg. The character of the 
paroxysm lately altered to what it used to he in the 
early progress of the complaint ; the limbs are now 
seized with a general tremour, instead of rigidity. 
Considerable pain in back. 

Set asleep by the process formerly employed at 
five minutes to seven ; manipulation without contact 
continued for ten minutes after accession of sleep. 
Is cataleptic in the sleep, rigidity and relaxation 
alternating, under the influence of precisely the same 
passes. Readily answers questions addressed to her 
in a whisper. A bit of twine, about four yards long, 
was stretched between patient and an adjoining 
room ; one end of it was applied to her ear, while 
the person holding the other extremity in the next 
room whispered as inaudibly as possible, at the ex- 
treme end, " Lift your right hand/' and immediately 
^ the order was obeyed, although to us in the room 
beside patient the command was quite unheard. 
This experiment was repeated several times, and 
always successfully, when the order given was sim- 
ple. A string fifteen yards long was then then pro- 
cured, and one of us, B— , taking the end of it, 
carried it outside the house, and down a considerable 
flight of steps to the back court, — the outer door, as 
well as that of the room, being closed. Applying 

his mouth to the end of the cord, B whispered 

in succession the three following orders, which had 
been agreed on by writing, — " Put your hand to 
./^ your head," " Clap your hands," " Lift your left 
hand." Patient made an attempt to execute the 
first order ; but failed in raising the hand the length 
of her head ; it appeared as if there had been some- 
thing opposing its passing beyond the breast. The 
second order was executed correctly, but with a very 
slow measured motion ; and the third was perfectly 
obeyed. They were all repeated again and again. 



CASES. 81 

When the end of the cord was removed from her 
ear, while the orders were being given at the other 
extremity, patient remained quite motionless, giving 
no sign whatever of hearing. Being still cataleptic, 
her hand was raised ; and while it was in that posi- 
tion, she was told to raise it, as if it still lay on her 
knee. She replied that she was unable. She was 
asked, if she knew that her hand was raised ; and 
she answered, that she did not feel it raised. On 
being told to put down her hand, she did so, and 
said she was conscious of it being put down. During 
these experiments, we repeatedly clapped our hands 
loudly at her ear, without detecting the slightest 
appearance of sensibility : she only answered when 
spoken to sotto voce. 

There was a single candle in the room, which gave 
a good deal of light ; but on patient being asked if 
she saw any one, she said that it was too dark. 
Declared that she could not open her eyes. Pupils 
in a state of contraction. The candle was removed 
to another room, and the door shut. She now said 
that she saw us distinctly, and described accurately 
those present, and any change of posture they chose 
to take. There was but a glimmering of light in the 
apartment from a lowered fire, not enough, how- 
ever, to allow me to distinguish the objects she 
described. I felt her eyes, and they were shut. She 
was quite as accurate in her descriptions when I held 
my hands firmly over her eyes. 

The extreme sensibility displayed by patient to 
the most inaudible whisper, suggested the idea to us, 
that she might possibly be made to respond to a 
mere mental order. We all in turn tried her with 
similar simple orders, such as had been given with 
the cord, — " Move your right arm," " Touch your 
shoulder with your left hand," &c. &c, but only 
expressed mentally, not articulated ; and each of us, 
in turn, found his wishes complied with. We dis- 



J 



82 MESMERISM. 

covered that the effect was more certain when all 
but the person wishing the experiment retired to 
some distance from the patient. It appeared as if 
the minds of those present exercised some influence 
on hers, which, to a certain extent, counteracted the 
operation. 

She was asked if Mesmerism was doing her any- 
good, and she replied, that it was the best thing for 
her ; that she thought she would be well in a short 
time; and that she did not require any medicine, 
except a few common pills. 

When the patient was taken out of the sleep, she 
expressed the same confidence in Mesmerism, saying, 
at the same time, that she felt greatly relieved by 
the sleep, which had lasted about two hours. Dur- 
ing this time she had six fits, none of them at all 
severe. The only remaining rigidity occurs in left 
leg ; the other limbs, during the fits, are affected by 
spasmodic tremors. The left leg was neglected to 
be manipulated, for the purpose of relieving it during 
the paroxysm. 

January 18. — Patient was operated on yesterday 
as usual by Mr. Dove ; but I was unable to be pre- 
sent. Continues much in the same state. 

On being put asleep in the usual way, it was 
found, that besides being cataleptic, (as she has 
always been these two or three last days when in the 
Mesmeric state,) patient displayed a singular kind of 
obedience to the Mesmeric influence. When one of 
us held his hand a little way above that of patient, 
the latter was attracted by it, and could be made to 
follow either up or down, without being in contact. 
This phenomenon appeared so analogous to catalepsy, 
that we were inclined to believe it merely a superior 
development of that state. In the catalepsy we 
noticed, that when the patient's arm was made to 
assume different positions, the motion by which this 
was effected did not appear to be communicated 



CASES. 83 

from the hand in contact with it, but seemed to be 
the result of the volition of the patient herself, acted 
upon in some way by the person experimenting : 
in other words, that the movements of the arms of 
the patient in the cataleptic state are not caused by 
the communication of motion in a mechanical way, 
but are dependent on some other influence, appa- 
rently of the same nature as that exercised by the 
hand when held at some distance from that of 
patient, as in the experiment I have just detailed. 

When the candle is in the room, patient says that 
she cannot see distinctly : on its being removed, sees 
better. She was told to get up, and fetch her work, 
when she immediately rose, went into another apart- 
ment, opened a small drawer, took out a stocking 
that she had been engaged knitting, returned to the 
room, and sat down to work. She stuck the wire 
into her waist-band, arranged the ball of worsted, 
and commenced operations, as if in her usual waking 
state, although her eyes were shut the whole time. 
There was no more light in the room than came from 
the fire, by which we could with difficulty observe 
how she was getting on. She continued knitting 
with great rapidity, now and then letting down a 
stitch ; but always taking it up with the utmost faci- 
lity. Her head was bent over her work, as. if for the 
purpose of using her eyes in the operation ; but on 
our interposing a thick quarto volume, opened in the 
middle, with both halves spread out, she, neverthe- 
less, carried on the knitting with the same facility as 
before, taking up a stitch when she happened to let 
one down, and producing just as perfect work as in 
her ordinary state of vigilance. The stocking is 
what is termed rig and fur, which, of all kinds of 
knitting, is that requiring the greatest degree of 
attention. Having wrought for about a quarter of 
an hour, on being desired to lay past her work, she 
again got up, went to the other apartment, put the 



84 MESMERISM. 

stocking carefully back into its proper place in the 
drawer, and returned to lier seat. 

Re-seated, with an open book before her, she says 
that it looks quite black : can make out the lines, 
but cannot distinguish any of the letters. Could tell 
when the back of the book was turned towards her, 
instead of the printed side. 

The room being made dark by the removal of the 
candle, and her eyes, as usual, being shut, she can 
distinguish all the persons present ; but could not 
perceive them if any one stood in front between her 
and them. When asked if her eyes are not shut, she 
replied, " How could I see, if my eyes were shut." 
On Mr. Dove's fingers being placed on her closed 
eyes she seemed puzzled, and said that she could not 
tell how she saw. She knew when Mr. Dove left 
the room, but could not distinguish him after he had 
left. When we inquired where he was, she said, 
" He is in the kitchen ;" but, on being further desired 
to try if she could see what he was doing, she ridiculed 
the idea, as if she thought that we were making 
game of her, and asked, " How can I see through 
the wall ?" 

Patient having complained lately of pain in the 
back of the head, passes, without contact, were di- 
rected to that part. After being taken out of the 
sleep she had several fits of rather a more severe 
character than any experienced for several days 
past. 

January 19. — Patient passed a very bad night, 
headach continuing extremely violent. As had 
been agreed on last night, Mr. Dove visited her to- 
day at twelve o'clock, and threw her into the Mes- 
meric sleep, in which she remained till his afternoon 
visit at half-past six. On arriving at seven o'clock, 
I found her sitting in her ordinary state of vigilance, 
cheerful, and entirely relieved of headach, and all 
other pain. She had remained tranquil while in the 



CASES. 85 

Mesmeric sleep, with the exception of a few fits 
which passed off mildly. 

Seeing the good effects produced by the long sleep, 
we determined to Mesmerise her on leaving, and 
allow her to remain all night in that state. After 
going to bed, patient was accordingly put into the 
Mesmeric sleep, and left in it for the night. 

January 20. — Patient was visited by Mr. Dove 
this morning about nine o'clock, and found exactly 
in the position in which we left her on the previous 
evening. She was roused up and left awake till the 
evening visit. 

On going out in the evening I found that the day 
had passed without a single fit ; she appeared cheer- 
ful, and said she was much better. 

When she had been once more set asleep, we pro- 
ceeded to rouse her into the state of Mesmeric vigi- 
lance by calling her by her name, and asking a few 
simple questions. She soon became very lively; the 
expression of her face was particularly pleasing, and 
her manner and tone of voice frank and natural. 
After we had gone on conversing with her for some 
time on matters of no importance, she appeared tired 
of such work, and at last said, she was Dot going 
to sit this way doing nothing. We inquired if she 
would take a seam ; she said she would, rose up, 
went to the next apartment, and soon returned with 
a frill that she had been engaged on during the day. 
She commenced sewing; and, so far as we could judge, 
did her work with more facility the darker we made 
the room. We then advised her to give over sew- 
ing for a little, which she did ; and on the candle 
being again brought into the room, we examined 
what she had done, and found it as neat as the part 
she had sewed while awake. She now said, " I 
want to go out." " But it is dark," I said. " No," 
she replied, " it is light ;" and rising from the chair, 
she asked for her bonnet and insisted on going out. 



86 MESMERISM. 

With some difficulty we got her persuaded to remain. 
When she was again seated, I lifted the candle and 
brought it near to her face ; she started and said, 
" Oh ! what is that ? What a terrible darkness !" 
" What is it like V one of us asked. " It is like a 
big black thing," she replied, with an air of discom- 
fort. The candle was taken away, and the faint 
light of the fire completely intercepted, after which a 
looking-glass was presented to her, and she was 
asked what she saw. She replied, she saw a glass, 
and could distinguish her face in it. We had just 
light enough to make out that she had commenced to 
arrange her hair, which had become a little disordered; 
this finished, she tied her cap. When asked if she 
perceived that her eyes were shut, she answered, 
" No; I could not see if my eyes were shut;" but, 
on looking more carefully into the glass she ex- 
claimed, with an air of great surprise, " Yes ! I see 
they are shut !" This appeared quite unaccountable 
to her, but she did not ask us how it was, and would 
immediately have forgot all about it, but we put the 
question to her, " How can you see your own eyes 
shut V to which her reply was, " I don't know, but 
I see a clear light on everything." 

The experiment of whispering at the end of the 
cord was repeated with a view of ascertaining whe- 
ther she could perceive sound as well with the cord 
in contact with the epigastrium as when held at the 
ear, and the result was that she did not appear to be 
at all influenced by the whisper when the string was 
applied to the region of the stomach. On the other 
hand, however, a whisper, directed to the epigas- 
trium seemed to be more distinctly heard than when 
addressed to the ear. The great quantity of clothes 
worn by patient perhaps interfered with the success 
of the first of these experiments. She manifested 
to-night the usual response to mental orders; an 
effect being invariably produced by the conception 



CASES. 87 

of the command, although not always the one de- 
sired. 

The whole body was extremely sensible to the 
approach of the hand; without being touched, she 
could be made to rise from her seat, and by the ap- 
proximation of a hand to her foot, the latter could be 
attracted and made to follow, as was the case with 
her hands on former occasions. When two or more 
hands were presented at the same time on different 
sides to a hand of the patient's, the latter fluttered 
about between them, as if uncertain where to fix, 
being apparently equally attracted by all. As this 
was continued, the motions of patient's hand became 
quicker, and the sense appeared to acquire additional 
acuteness. There was sometimes exhibited a sort of 
repulsion from one of the hands, although not always 
the same one. She was awakened about nine o'clock. 

While in the Mesmeric sleep patient had one or 
two short fits with slight rigidity of left side. At 
the time patient was in one of these, a stranger who 
was present, without consideration, passed his hand 
two or three times down along left leg, with con- 
tact, when all at once the whole body was thrown 
into the state of rigidity. She was relieved from 
this state by Mr. Dove making a few passes. After 
being awakened there occurred two fits, in which 
there was almost no rigidity, but instead very forci- 
ble twisting and stretching of the body and limbs, 
which we were told had been the case in some of the 
earliest fits. 

Patient left in bed in the Mesmeric sleep. 

January 21. — Patient awakened at nine morning 
by Mr. Dove ; still much refreshed ; but has had seve- 
ral slight fits during the night. In the evening, on 
being put to sleep, and room darkened as much as 
possible, she declared herself now " in the light." A 
card being put into her hand, she at once, and with- 



88 MESMERISM. 

out hesitation, described it as of a red colour, with a 
small picture or engraving in the centre, and some 
words above and below, all right ; but she failed to 
read the words. Again, when there was light in the 
room, a card of the same size and thickness was put 
into her hand, with the intimation that we wished 
her now to read the words on it, but she at once, 
and decidedly, declared it to be another card — a white 
one, with a picture on it, but no words, — also quite 
right. 

Left patient in the Mesmeric sleep till morning. 

January 22. — Patient awakened by Mr. Dove, as 
before. Three or four fits to-day, as yesterday, but 
of a mild character, and not of the rigid kind, but 
like those she first had. 

Patient again Mesmerised, and left asleep, in the 
evening. 

January 23. — Patient awakened in the morning 
and again Mesmerised in the evening. She very 
soon attained her ordinary degree of Mesmeric luci- 
dity. Says that she feels remarkably comfortable 
in the Mesmeric state, which she describes as being 
quite different from her common state of vigilance. 
Room being darkened, and bandage placed on pa- 
tient's eyes, Mr. Dove took my note-book and held 
it before her, with his ring behind. She was asked 
what she saw, and she replied, " I see a shining 
thing." — " Look and tell me what it is T — " It is 
your ring," was the reply of the patient. 

The candle was again brought into the room, but 
it was kept at a distance, and there was still very 
little light. She said that she saw my watch when 
I held it close to her forehead, but could not tell the 
hour on it till after two or three trials. Her per- 
ception appeared to be strongest when it was held on 
the forehead, and not on the part of the head covered 
with hair. 



CASES. 89 

Patient is insensible to pricking or pinching ; but 
she is able to perceive any motion communicated to 
her body, as, for instance, when her arm is moved. 

Two basins of water being brought into the room, 
and patient's hand being dipt into them in turn, she 
described the one, at a temperature of 115, as 
" very cold, — freezing," and the one at the tempe- 
rature of the atmosphere, as " nice and warm." 

The bandage being still retained, Mr. Dove sat 
down opposite patient, put a bit of ginger root into his 
mouth, and after chewing it a little, took hold of her 
hands. He had no sooner done this than she ap- 
peared to be tasting something, and answered, in re- 
ply to a question, that she had ginger in her mouth. 
This experiment was repeated, and varied with sugar, 
with salt, and with pepper, and each of these sub- 
stances was correctly tasted through the operator. 

Left asleep in bed to-night as usual. Only one fit 
to-day, which occurred just as she got into bed. We 
have observed, that regularly every night she takes 
a fit on that occasion. 

January 25. — Awakened in the morning, and 
again put to sleep at night. 

January 26. — Patient has had no fit since yester- 
day, and feels her health much improved. Com- 
plains of slight headach. Mr. Dove being unwell 
to-night, did not Mesmerise patient on leaving, many 
Mesmerisers being of opinion that an important in- 
fluence is exercised by the state of the operator's 
body. 

January 28. — Patient passed a miserable night 
on the 26th ; but having been Mesmerised, as usual, 
on the 27th, when I was unable to be present, is now 
much recruited. Bowels, which formerly were very 
irregular, have gradually become regular, without 
the use of any medicine, except a few pills now and 
then, which she has been long in the habit of taking, 
but which she now requires no longer. 



90 MESMERISM. 

January 29. — On leaving patient in the Mesmeric 
sleep last night, Mr. Dove had the bed made up in 
such a way as to allow her to repose in a sitting po- 
sition, and we find to-day that she has passed a much 
better night. Mesmerism continued in the usual 
way, patient being regularly awakened in the morn- 
ing and put to sleep at night. 

January 30. — An excellent night, and no fit. 

Some of the former experiments were tried this 
evening with occasional failures. Mr. Dove having 
a hold of the patient's hand, took a pinch of snuff; 
she began to cough as if there was something chok- 
ing her, and at last made an effort to sneeze, calling 
out, at the same time, with an expression of disgust, 
" You 're putting snuff in my nose. I hate snuff." 
A similar experiment was tried with ammonia. 

January 31. — Patient continues to do well. 

February 1. — Patient has had no fits to-day, but 
complains of some degree of pain of back. 

February 2. — Complains of headach and pain of 
back. To-night patient could scarcely be got be- 
yond the state of lucid dreaming, which generally 
precedes that of lucid vigilance, and is a state in 
which she often mistakes recollection of former im- 
pressions for impressions of the moment; conse- 
quently, her answers are any thing but satisfactory. 

February 4. — Yesterday morning, (3d February,) 
when awakened at the accustomed time, patient had 
quite recovered her comfortable feelings. Last night 
she had no fit on going to bed. Slight headach, 
with some pain of side. 

To-night patient was more than ordinarily clair- 
voyant. The experiments on her sensations, and her 
sympathy with the operator, were tried with uniform 
success. Towards the end of the sitting, on the light 
being withdrawn, she became very lucid, and on her 
attention being directed to her own body, she said 



CASES. 91 

she saw into it distinctly. Asked if she saw her 
heart. Replied that she did, and described it as 
small at the bottom and large at the top, with a di- 
vision in it which she felt some difficulty in describ- 
ing. Asked if she saw her brain. Said, with an 
air of surprise, " 0, yes, I see it !" — " What like is 
it ?" — " I see two pieces, and then another piece be- 
hind." She then described " a thing going down 
from it in four pieces," and strings like a chain all 
down her back. Said she saw a sore on her side, 
and another on her shoulder; that the former had 
been much larger, but was now healing, that it had 
already healed twice as much as its present size, which 
she described as bigger than a pennypiece. She 
added, that this sore would be soon well, as it was 
rapidly contracting. With an expression of pain, she 
told us, that all the blisters which she put on had but 
done her harm, and that, if she had been Mesmerised 
six years ago, she would now have been quite well. 

In her ordinary state of waking, we found that 
patient had not the slightest notion of even the 
simplest facts in anatomy. 

February 5. — Patient improving rapidly. 

In experimenting to-night on the production of 
rigidity in the limbs while in the state of pliant 
catalepsy, we found that it could be brought on by 
passes without contact in any limb, although placed 
in the most awkward and difficult position. As on 
some former occasions, we ascertained that the intro- 
duction of any foreign body into the hand, such as a 
key, produces intense rigidity, and farther, we ob- 
served to-night that this effect only takes place to a 
very limited extent, or not at all when the foreign 
body was previously handled and breathed on by 
operator. Pursuing this subject farther, we took 
four tea-cups, filled them with cold water, and one 
of them having been Mesmerised (breathed upon) by 
Mr. Dove, we presented them to patient, and dipped 



92 MESMERISM. 

her hand successively in the four cups, without any- 
particular order, when she immediately recognised 
the one that had been Mesmerised, and on coming 
to it, so soon as her fingers touched the water, she 
gave an involuntary start, like that produced by an 
electric shock. This was repeated several times, the 
order of the cups being varied, with precisely the 
same result. 

By accident we found that patient exhibited ex- 
treme sensibility to impressions made on the opera- 
tor while he was in contact with her, and a far- 
ther investigation discovered that the sympathy 
established between them was so complete, that on 
his hair being pulled, his ear pinched, or any part 
pricked with a pin, she immediately started, com- 
plaining of being ill-used. "We had another ex- 
ample of this sympathy in the effect produced on 
patient by the operator throwing his arms out, the 
movement made by him being instantly imitated by 
her, although not always perfectly, yet in such a 
way as to show an evident desire to perform the 
same motion. The number of motions, for instance, 
always corresponded. This experiment was success- 
ful even when the operator went into the adjoining 
apartment out of the line of patient's vision. 

It was very apparent to-night that patient's per- 
ception of sound was much more acute at the hand 
than at the ear or any other part : the lowest whisper, 
which made no impression whatever on the ear, un- 
less when breathed into it, was readily heard when 
addressed with the mouth close to the hand. 

The room having been darkened, she again de- 
scribed her body in much the same way as on the 
previous evening. She said that it had the appear- 
ance of crystal with red streams running through it 
downwards, and darker streams returning upwards ; 
that she saw the lungs " working," and had still a 
distinct view of the sore places in her body. 



CASES. 93 

"With regard to her views of light and shadow, 
she says that all present, excepting herself and Mr. 
Dove, are in the shadow. 

Patient had no fit to-night on going into bed. 

February 6th. — Awakened in morning, and Mes- 
merised in the evening as before. The sympathy 
between operator and patient appeared very strong 
at the commencement of this evening. When he 
sat down opposite to her, and, no contact being main- 
tained, performed the act of swallowing, the muscles 
of her neck and throat were immediately put into 
action and deglutition imitated. On operator nodd- 
ing his head, patient replied by an imitative nod. 
When he raised his hands, she did so likewise. 

After a repetition of former experiments, we again 
tried if she could perceive tastes through Mr. Dove 
as before ; but apparently on account of the fatigue 
occasioned by the exertions she had made, she failed 
to distinguish them correctly. This has occurred 
several times ; and on asking patient the cause of it, 
she says it is a mistake, arising from inattention, by 
which she confuses the recollection of former impres- 
sions with those actually made at the time. In fact, it 
would appear that this takes place in a sort of dream- 
ing state between sleep and lucid vigilance, which 
comes on when the patient has been exerting herself 
in the Mesmeric state, and requires repose ; or it may 
posssibly occur from some derangement of her health. 
What proves this to be the case, and that the mis- 
takes are not of the nature of failures among a num- 
ber of fortunate guesses, is, that when fatigued, and 
inclined to fell asleep, it is with difficulty she can be 
roused to answer at all correctly, while, when she is 
lucid, and free from the desire to sleep, her replies 
are uniformly correct. 

After an interval, patient was once more requested 
to examine her body, and described the sore on her 
side as almost well. She said that the sore on the 



94 MESMERISM. 

shoulder would get worse, and that, in consequence, 
she would have two dreadful paroxysms of fits before 
her complete recovery. That the first of these would 
come on upon Thursday morning, (the 9th February,) 
and continue all day ; that on Friday she would be 
a great deal better, and on Saturday would appear 
quite well; but that on Sunday (the 12th) she would 
have the severest paroxysm she had yet experienced, 
after which there would be no return of the fits. 
She recommended that she should be kept in the 
trance from Wednesday night till Friday morning, 
and from Saturday night till Monday morning. 

We conclude our extracts from Dr. Mitchell's 
Journal with the following statement of the result of 
the above prediction. 

The fits came on exactly as patient had predicted, 
— the latter, moreover, beginning at the precise hour 
(seven o'clock) on Sunday morning, previously fore- 
told. The last fit of this dreadful and unintermitted 
paroxysm took place, as she also foretold, about four 
o'clock afternoon, since which period not the slightest 
symptom of a return has been experienced. 



It may be interesting to compare the accounts in 
Dr. Mitchell's Journal with those given by other 
gentlemen who had opportunities of witnessing the 
phenomena evolved in this case. One gentleman 
who visited Isabella D. about the end of February 
described as follows some of the occurrences of the 
evening : — • 

" On entering the apartment, Isabella D. was al- 
ready in the state of trance, but was awakened (by 
the operator rubbing her forehead with both his 
hands) in order that we might see and converse with 
her in her usual state. She was again thrown into 
the sleep by the operator holding her hands, and 



CASES. 05 

looking stedfastly in her face for about a minute, 
when a deep drawn sigh announced that the change 
was effected. Her head sunk back upon a pillow 
placed for its reception, while the expression of the 
face and the position of the whole body, became all 
at once highly characteristic of the most perfect re- 
pose. The eyes remained slightly open as in som- 
nambulism, but this is said to be only the case when 
the patient is Mesmerised more than once at a sit- 
ting. A few passes down the head and face closed 
the eyes, and in this condition a hand or limb placed 
in any position, however awkward in her usual 
condition, remained unmoved, which state was de- 
scribed as that of pliant catalepsy. A few passes 
down any particular limb produced rigid catalepsy, 
in which the muscles appeared distended by some 
powerful nervous influence. On inquiry, we were 
informed that her pulse, which, in her ordinary state, 
beats quickly, falls usually about twenty beats while 
in this condition. Her eyes were now bandaged, 
and a loud noise having been unexpectedly made by 
striking two books together, showed that she was 
insensible to external influence of such a nature. At 
the same time, a cord, about fifteen yards long, having 
been fastened to her right hand, and carried to an 
adjoining apartment, and from thence down a stair 
to the court below, the doors being all shut, served 
as a means of communication between the patient 
and one of the medical gentlemen. Orders or com- 
mands, written by spectators in the apartment on a 
slip of paper, and handed to the latter, were whis- 
pered by him upon his end of the cord, and promptly 
replied to by her in the performance of the com- 
mands. Conversations held with her, by means of 
the operator whispering upon the back or palm of 
her hand, elicited the facts that she was possessed of a 
double consciousness, answering to a different name 
from that given in her usual condition, describing 



96 MESMERISM. 

her situation as one of great mental quietude and 
happiness, and looking upon herself as a totally dif- 
ferent individual from what she really is.* The 
operator continuing to hold her hands, one of the 
spectators slipped behind him and pulled his hair, 
upon which the patient called out, that some one 
pulled her hair; when he was pinched, she com- 
plained of being pinched in the same place, although 
she was in her own person quite insensible to pain. 
When the operator held her hands, and imitated the 
motion of swallowing, the muscles of her throat and 
mouth assumed the appearance of the same action. 
The effect of such experiments impressed upon our 
minds the fact of a community of sensation. 

" The room was now completely darkened, and 
the fire covered up with a large board, the inter- 
stices being filled up with cloths, to prevent a single 
ray of light. In this state she was asked to describe 
the appearance of the room, and the position of the 
different parties present, which she did very minutely ; 
and one gentleman present described his sensation 
as almost overpowering, when, in a whisper, (with 
her eyes still bandaged,) she described the altered 
position in which he placed himself to test her 
powers. 

" It appears that this power of clairvoyance is 
greater in proportion to the absence of light. 

" The experiments, of which only the leading'ones 
can be here detailed, were of such a nature, and so 
conducted, as to leave us no alternative, unless we 
were inclined to doubt the evidence of our senses, 
but to believe that the science is entitled at the least 
to a proper share of attention. Experiments were 
also tried to show that it might be possible to lead 
the patient to visit in imagination, and to describe 
places and persons whom she had not previously seen 

* Her Mesmeric name is Martha, her baptismal name Isabella. 



CASES. 97 

or conversed with, for instance, houses, streets, and 
even the interior of public buildings, which, we were 
assured by the father, mother, and brother of the 
patient, she was in her usual state utterly ignorant 
of." 

Another visit, early in the month of March, was 
thus described by a gentleman, who was also present 
on the evening above alluded to. 

" Upon entering the house on this occasion, the 
patient was in her natural state, and we were there- 
fore enabled to converse with her for some time be- 
fore she was thrown into the Mesmeric sleep. She 
described her health as continuing to improve daily, 
and she had on that day been able, for the first time 
during the last twelve months, to take a walk of some 
length out of doors. The operator having proceeded 
to throw the patient into the Mesmeric trance, this 
was effected in about a minute and a half. He next 
proposed to awaken her, in order to show the rapi- 
dity with which she might be thrown into sleep after 
having been once Mesmerised. This was accom- 
plished by rubbing the thumbs upon the forehead, 
immediately above the eyes, and the patient was 
again able to enter into conversation in her usual 
state. In half a minute she was once more put 
asleep, and, after a second awakening, the effect was 
almost instantaneous, the sleep having been produced 
in less than a quarter of a minute. A deep drawn 
sigh invariably announced that the patient had pass- 
ed into the trance, and a similar sign, with an in- 
stantaneous cessation of the cataleptic state, attended 
her awakening. This cessation of the catalepsy was 
especially remarkable when the arm had been pre- 
viously extended. 

" A bandage of the most perfect description was 
now placed upon the eyes of the patient. The ope- 
rator being seated in a chair in front of the patient, 
and holding her hands in his, a small quantity of 

G 






98 MESMERISM. 

tartaric acid was put by one of the gentlemen pre- 
sent into the operator's mouth. By a whisper on the 
hand the patient was asked whether she had any 
thing in her mouth ? Yes. What was it ? Could 
not tell, but it had a nasty taste. Being pressed to 
describe the taste, said it was a nasty saltish sort of 
taste, but was not salt. Some common salt was then 
administered, and in reply to questions similarly put 
she said that she had salt in her mouth. Was it the 
same kind of salt she had a little ago? No, the 
other was a sour kind of salt, but this was real salt. 
With a like accuracy she replied, upon a little sugar 
being soon after applied. At a subsequent period, 
when some other experiments were in progress, one 
of the gentlemen observed that the operator had put 
into his mouth a portion of an oaten cake which was 
lying on a table in the room, and it occurred to him 
to have the question put, — Have you any thing in 
your mouth now ? The immediate response from the 
patient was, — Yes, a piece of cake. A little sugar 
was added by the same gentleman, and the reply 
then was, that she was eating cake and sugar. The 
operator's hands were also pricked with a pin, which 
immediately called forth an expression of dissatisfac- 
tion from the patient, who said that she felt pain in 
the same place. Similar experiments were made on 
the head, neck, and shoulders, with a like result. 
During the whole of this time the patient was kept 
closely bandaged, and, although repeated attempts 
were made, it seemed plain that she was insensible 
to pain in her own person. 

" In the Mesmeric state, the patient describes light 
as darkness, and darkness as light. Thus, a candle 
wafted rapidly across the face was described by her 
as a f terrible darkness like black stones,' from which 
she exhibited great anxiety to escape. On the other 
hand, she could distinguish outward objects only in 
total darkness, and in such circumstances she declared 



CASES. 99 

that there was a brilliant light centered in her body. 
The loudest noise made in the apartment, no matter 
how near, or how unexpectedly produced, failed to 
excite the slightest attention ; but a gentle whisper 
upon her hand, or at the ear of the operator while 
grasping it, was immediately replied to. As has 
been already stated, she is quite insensible to pain in 
her own person, but when any individual grasped 
her hand, upon whom experiments such as those 
already mentioned were performed, she immedi- 
ately displayed the most acute sensibility to pain, or 
other disagreeable sensations. In short, many of 
the sensations common to man in his ordinary state 
seemed to be reversed or inverted during the con- 
tinuance of the Mesmeric vigil. 

" It has been stated that it is possible to lead the 
patient to visit in imagination, and to describe places 
and persons she had not previously seen or conversed 
with. What degree of reality may be connected 
with this, the operator confessed that he was unable 
to say ; but that, at all events, if partaking only of 
the character of a dream, it was exceedingly curious. 
Perfect reliance could not, it was evident, be placed 
in the statements made by the patient while on an 
excursion of this description, as she evinced a dispo- 
sition to move about from place to place with a 
rapidity which it was impossible to follow, thus ne- 
cessarily creating confusion in the minds of the list- 
ners. The manner in which these dreamy excursions 
are performed is as follows : — The operator, sitting 
by the side of the patient, whispers the question upon 
her hand whether she knows a certain place. On this 
occasion it was a house in the west end of the city, 
that she had before visited in the same manner, which 
was indicated, and the reply was, that she knew the 
spot. She was told to go there, and accordingly, in 
a few minutes, said that she had arrived at the door. 
She was requested not to enter, but to proceed 



100 MESMERISM. 

farther along the same street, and turn up the next 
street she came to. In this manner she was, in ima- 
gination, led to a particular residence, the external 
appearance of which she accurately described, and 
into which she was requested to enter. Arrived with- 
in the portal, she found her way into one of the 
rooms, in which she stated that four gentlemen were 
sitting. One of these she described as an elderly 
gentleman with white or grey hair, and after some 
farther questions declared that he had a bodily pecu- 
liarity of a somewhat striking description. At first 
she stated that she had never seen the gentleman 
before, but on being asked to look at him more care- 
fully, said that he had been at her father's house about 
three weeks previously with a well-known phy- 
sician in town, whom she named. When at her 
father's, the gentleman, she said, had on a blue cloak ; 
but she could not recall his name. Strange to say, 
the house to which the patient was led was that of a 
gentleman who had visited her with the physician 
referred to — the statement regarding the bodily pe- 
culiarity was also strictly accurate, although the de- 
fect is so well concealed as to be unnoticed by a 
merely casual observer. The coincidence was cer- 
tainly curious, and the phenomena connected with 
these imaginary excursions seem altogether calculated 
to repay investigation. To dogmatise upon them, 
in our present imperfect knowledge of the science 
with which they are connected, would lead to no use- 
ful result ; and perhaps the best thing that inquirers 
can do is to confine themselves to an investigation of 
facts, without, in the meantime, making any attempt 
at explanation." 

A third visit, about the middle of the month of 
March, at which there was also present another 

clairvoyante, Isabella H , of whom some account 

will be subsequently given, was described as follows, 
by a highly intelligent gentleman, who was that 



CASES. 101 

evening a witness of Mesmeric experiments for the 
first time. 

" Both the girls entered the room at the same 
moment. The one who had been subject to fits of a 
cataleptic nature was first operated on. She was 
placed on a chair, at the back of which was a low 
chest of drawers, and on this was a pillow imme- 
diately behind her head. On a chair immediately 
opposite, and very close to the patient, sat the ope- 
rator. He began by taking hold of her hands, which 
he held firmly for a few seconds, at the same time 
looking steadfastly in her face. The patient's eyes 
began to wink, as if drowsiness were coming on 
irresistibly. She uttered a deep sigh, her eyes closed, 
and her head fell back on the pillow prepared for it. 
This did not occupy more than a minute from the 
time the passes were begun. A bandage, consisting 
of a white cotton handkerchief, and over it a dark 
India silk handkerchief, was then tied firmly and 
completely over the eyes, so that it was utterly im- 
possible that she could see any thing whatever, even 
if she had not been under the Mesmeric influence. 
The operator, by a few passes near the left arm, 
produced in it a state of rigidity and tension, which 
rendered it difficult to move the arm or the fingers 
of the hand. A few more passes reduced this rigid- 
ity, and the arm and hand became pliant as before. 
He then placed the ends of the fingers of his right 
hand within about two inches of the patient's hand. 
Immediately the fingers of her hand vibrated, slightly 
at first, and inclined towards the operator's : then, as 
he continued to move his hand nearer, and again 
draw it away, which he did frequently and rapidly, 
— never, however, allowing his hand to come actu- 
ally in contact with her's, — the patient's fingers and 
hand became more agitated ; the hand rose from her 
knee, and followed the operator's hand, which was 
withdrawn and raised as if irresistibly attracted. 



102 MESMERISM. 

He now applied his left hand to the back of the 
patient's, with the same motion as before, keeping 
always at the distance of from two to three inches. 
This drew her hand back again, and the vibratory 
inclination was now downwards. Again this was 
counteracted by the operator's right hand being 
brought to bear on the front of the patient's fingers, 
which were then attracted upwards, — her hand con- 
tinuing to move up and down, or from side to side, 
according to the position of the operator's hands. 

" The power of the eye on the hand of the patient 
was still more extraordinary. The operator fixed his 
eye intently on the hand, which was at the time 
resting on the patient's knee, and distant about a 
foot and a half from the operator's face. The fin- 
gers began to vibrate as before, the hand was raised, 
and, as the operator withdrew his face, the patient's 
hand followed in the same direction, until he removed 
to a greater distance, and suddenly drew back his 
head. At this time the operator had turned to 
answer a question of mine, and his back was towards 
the patient. One of the gentlemen who accompanied 
me was sitting at the right side of the patient, and 
distant from her about three feet; and at this 
moment he fixed his eyes intently on the patient's 
hand, which the operator had placed again on her 
knee in a state of perfect repose : the hand turned 
towards the gentleman, and the fingers moved and 
vibrated upwards towards his face, which was bent 
down, and steadily fixed about two or three feet 
from the hand, and six or eight inches perhaps above 
it. 

" The operator next asked if we had any sub- 
stance, of a decided or pungent taste, that we could 
put into his mouth ? I had a few strong ginger 
lozenges in my pocket ; I placed one of them in his 
mouth, while he was holding the patient's hands in 
his. He then asked her, in a low voice, what she 



CASES. 103 

had in her mouth ? Her lips moved, as if in the act 
of tasting, and she replied, without hesitation, e< It is 
ginger." I then took the operators seat, silently 
putting into my own mouth a quantity of common 
salt, from a salt-dish on the table. I took firm hold 
of the patient's hands, and she was again asked what 
she had in her mouth. Her lips moved again, as in 
the act of tasting, and she hesitated. I had, up till 
this time, kept the salt on my tongue, without any 
action or suction, so that it was not dissolved, or, at 
all events, had never touched the palate. The ope- 
rator told me to swallow the substance which I had 
in my mouth. This I accordingly did, and she im- 
mediately said, " It is salt." Several of the other 
visiters tried other substances, — sugar, water, ginger 
again, — and she never failed to state, with perfect 
correctness, what the substance was. One of the 
gentlemen who accompanied me was sitting opposite 
the patient, holding her hands in his, and when we 
pulled his hair, or pinched his arm, or pricked his 
hand with a needle, she shrunk at every one of these 
operations, — told distinctly, and without a moment's 
hesitation, whether her hair was pulled, her arm 
pinched, or her hand "jagged with pins," as she 
called it. The singular part of this experiment is, 
that while she feels most acutely any thing that may 
be done to a person holding her hands at the time, , 
she is totally unconscious and insensible in her own 
person. Her own hands were pricked with a needle, 
and a few hairs were pulled by the roots from her 
head, without the slightest shrinking or symptom of 
sensation. On being then told to walk into the kit- 
chen, which was an adjoining room, she immediately 
rose and went away." 

We omit, for the present, any detailed notice of 

Isabella H , and proceed to give the concluding 

portion of the narrative. 

" At this time, the other patient, (Isabella D ,) 



1 04 MESMERISM. 

who was still under the Mesmeric influence, was 
brought into the room, when a most extraordinary 
scene was presented. It may be interesting, how- 
ever, to observe, in the first place, that the two indi- 
viduals alluded to are said to be still almost entire 
strangers, and quite indifferent to each other, in their 
ordinary state, — having only seen each other three 
or four times, and, indeed, having been placed in the 
trance together only twice before ; while the circum- 
stance of their ever meeting at all, arose merely from 
the fact of the second having been lately Mesmerised 
for the first time by a gentleman who had, on a pre- 
vious occasion, witnessed the singular phenomena 
developed in the first case, and who, having at a 
former period attempted some experiments in Mes- 
merism, was desirous of renewing his acquaintance 
with the subject. In his very first attempt with 
this patient, it so happened, that he was not a little 
astonished and disconcerted to find himself, all of a 
sudden, in the presence of a clairvoyants of, at least, 
as extraordinary a description as the one he had pre- 
viously seen. The first operator, on entering the 
kitchen, in order to lead his patient to the curious 
interview now to be described, and, on desiring her 
to go with him to see her ' sister,' as she called her, 
was told that it was unnecessary, as she had already 
been in close converse with her, and did not require 
to do so, if we would only let her sister alone, and 
not tease her with questions. He found her with 
her hands locked into each other in a very peculiar 
manner, and quite rigid, yet quickly and frequently 
changed into other curious postures, — sometimes 
across the breast, sometimes clasped together, &c. ; 
and he could not persuade her to rise, until he 
assured her we would go on teasing her e sister ' till 
she came into her presence herself. Instantly she 
rose and walked, with convulsive rapidity, or rather 
ran, into the adjoining apartment. The two then 



CASES. 1 05 

hastily embraced each other with apparent rapture, 
folded their arms round each other, and clung to- 
gether with a rigid and tenacious grasp, that would 
have caused pain to any one in a natural state. I 
endeavoured to lift the hand of one of them from the 
shoulder of the other, and with all my force could 
hardly move it. The attraction seemed irresistible 
and mutual. The impression left on my mind, when 
I attempted to separate them, was, that it was a 
violence to both. We remained about a quarter of 
an hour after this meeting, during which time their 
hold of each other never relaxed. The operator told 
us, that it was with the greatest difficulty that the 
two could be separated ; and that nothing but strong 
persuasion, and the promise that they should be 
allowed soon to meet again, induced them to part. 

" The above is a very imperfect sketch of what 
took place in the course of a series of experiments, 
which lasted upwards of three hours. I went to the 
house where these were conducted with a strong 
feeling, that there must be collusion betwixt the 
operators and the patients ; but this, at all events, I 
am fully convinced, there was not, and could not be. 
I offer no opinion on the extraordinary phenomena 
presented in both the cases which I have endeavoured 
to describe. If these phenomena be not referable to 
any known principles of medical or psycological 
science, they are sufficiently interesting and curious 
to render them worthy of fuller and more candid 
investigation than they have yet received." 

It may be mentioned, that it was at a previous 
meeting, similar to the above, of which no formal 
record has been preserved, that the patients gave 
themselves new names. In their ordinary condition, 
it so happens that they are both named Isabella ; but 
on being separated from each other on the evening 
referred to, they stated, that the one was to be called 
Martha, and the other Mary, and from that period 



106 MESMERISM. 

onwards they have recognised no other names while 
in the Mesmeric trance. This peculiar attraction 
towards each other of individuals in the higher Mes- 
meric states, we have frequently witnessed in other 
cases. They usually describe themselves as brothers 
and sisters, and if brought into the same room, will 
immediately, although blindfolded, evince a know- 
ledge of each other s presence, and will converse only 
with each other. 

Meanwhile, Isabella D , or Martha, to adopt 

her Mesmeric name, continued daily to improve, and 
there had been no return of the fits. About the 
period of the visit last narrated, one of the principal 
partners in the establishment of which her father was 
foreman, returned from England, where he had been 
absent for some time ; and, upon learning what had 

been going on in the family of John D , threatened 

that he would dismiss the latter from his situation, 
unless the visits of Dr. Mitchell and Mr. Dove were 
instantly discontinued. An appeal was made to 
this individual, setting forth the benefit which the 
patient had derived from the treatment ; and, what- 
ever he might think of Mesmerism, the cruelty of 
putting a stop to what had evidently been productive 
of so large an amount of good in her case. He was 
also asked to become a witness of the Mesmeric phe- 
nomena, and to judge of their reality for himself. 
He did not avail himself of this offer, but renewed 
the threat of dismissal ; and, unwilling to do any- 
thing that might prove injurious to the poor man 
and his family, Dr. Mitchell and Mr. Dove suspended 
their visits to the house of John D . 

The interruption of the Mesmeric treatment, and 
the agitation produced in the mind of the patient by 
this conduct on the part of her father s employer, led 
to an exceedingly serious illness, although happily 
unaccompanied by any return of the fits. It became 
then, a question with John D whether he was to 



CASES. 107 

lose his daughter or his situation, and we need scarce- 
ly say that his mind was speedily made up to sacri- 
fice the latter. Dr. Mitchell's journal of this illness 
is also before us, but as a tolerably complete narra- 
tive was drawn up at the time by the editor of this 
volume, (who was afforded an opportunity of seeing 
the patient awake from her ten days' sleep,) and re- 
vised by Dr. Mitchell and Mr. Dove, it is given in- 
stead of the daily record from the journal. The 
following narrative was written about the 10th of 
April 1843:— 

" Isabella D has now been entirely free from 

fits for two months, though previously they had been, 
in general, of daily occurrence, some of the paroxysms 
extending to the almost incredible number of sixty to 
seventy fits a day, the patient, indeed, being often 
literally out of one fit into another during all that 
time. Some weeks ago, an interruption of the Mes- 
meric treatment took place, and the mind of the 
patient was at the same time agitated by circum- 
stances of an annoying and vexatious description. 
On the evening of Thursday, the 30th of March, she 
complained of severe headach, giddiness, and a feel- 
ing of blindness, arising from the check which the 
re-establishment of functions deeply affecting the ge- 
neral health had thus received. Having been taught 
by Mr. Dove to throw herself into the Mesmeric 
sleep by a method similar to that lately pursued by 
Mr. Braid of Manchester, but previously practised 
by Mr. Dove in Edinburgh, she was recommended 
by her parents to endeavour to do so on this occa- 
sion, though, from the distressed state of her mind, 
she had before temporarily lost the power. In this 
particular instance, however, she again happily suc- 
ceeded, and a visit from Mr. Dove having been 
obtained at a later period of the evening, he con- 
versed with her in the trance, and found that medi- 
cal aid was instantly necessary. This was accord- 



1 08 MESMERISM. 

ingly procured, and a considerable quantity of blood 
was taken from the patient while in the trance. 

"When in the state of what has been termed sleep- 
waking, or somnambulism, the patient always talks 
of herself as of another person. In the Mesmeric 
state she calls herself Martha, and she talks of Isa- 
bella (her real name) as of a totally different indivi- 
dual. When asked about the complaints with which 
Isabella was troubled, she described them with what 
seemed to be the greatest accuracy, and indicated the 
most suitable remedies. After the bleeding she 
fainted away, but, strange to say, Martha was, 
nevertheless, still able to talk, and, with the pallid 
hue of death in her countenance, deliberately, and 
with the utmost coolness and self-possession, directed 
the proceedings of the attendants, and correctly told 
the time at which the state of syncope was to cease ! 
A bottle of smelling salts was afterwards applied to 
the patient's nostrils, but without the slightest effect; 
and no benefit was derived from such a source till 
the medical attendant applied the salts to the nostrils 
of the operator, while he held her hands in his, when, 
on his powerfully and even painfully inhaling them 
himself, the usual effect upon the patient was imme- 
diately produced. 

" Martha was asked, ' whether Isabella ought still 
to be kept asleep V Answer, c Yes/ ' How long 
would she remain asleep, without being re-Mesmer- 
ised V ' Until the succeeding forenoon.' On Friday 
it was resolved that she should still be kept in the 
state of trance, and, without bringing her back to her 
natural condition, she was re-Mesmerised, when she 
said that Isabella would now remain asleep for a 
period of twenty-four hours. On Saturday the same 
process was repeated, and on Sunday she was allowed 
to awake to her natural state for about twenty mi- 
nutes, when she voluntarily returned into the trance. 

" I should mention, that on Friday evening a doze 






CASES. 109 

of salts and senna had been ordered by the physi- 
cian, but an ignorant or careless apothecary had 
mixed up some calomel with the doze. The effects 
were seen on Sunday evening upon the mouth, which 
got worse during several ensuing days. The Mes- 
merising was now repeated once in the twenty-four 
hours for a week, without any further awakening of 
the patient to her natural state. After some days a 
gradual improvement took place — the headaches, &c. 
were nearly gone, and even the mouth, which had 
become very sore, began at length to improve. Martha 
was consulted from day to day as to whether Isabella 
should be awakened, but she continued for some time 
to recommend a continuance of the sleep. At length, 
after the interval of more than a week, she stated, on 
Saturday the 8th instant, that Isabella might be allow- 
ed to awake on the following day at twelve o'clock. 
The operator asked, whether she could not undertake 
to keep her asleep till one o'clock ; this she agreed to 
try to do. It may be here mentioned, that, during 
the ten days the patient remained in the Mesmeric 
sleep, she reclined for the most part in bed, but at 
all times, night or day, freely answered any ques- 
tions put to her when whispered upon the hand. 
The state of the mouth prevented her usual food from 
being given to her, but she partook sparingly of 
whatever was offered, it being principally adminis- 
tered in a liquid state. Occasionally she altered her 
position in bed, arranged the bed-clothes properly 
whenever it was necessary, and sometimes even rose 
of her own accord. Throughout the whole time she 
continued insensible to external sounds, unless through 
the medium of a whisper upon the hand, the eyes 
also remaining shut. 

" Shortly after 1 1 o'clock on the forenoon of Sun- 
day the 9th April, the day fixed for awakening, ac- 
companied by Dr. Mitchell, I entered the room of 
the patient, where we were scon joined by Mr. Dove. 



110 MESMERISM. 

The invalid was lying on a bed, so arranged that the 
head and the upper part of the body were much more 
elevated than is usual when persons are in sleep. 
The eyes were closed, the face pale, but the expres- 
sion of the countenance could not be called unpleas- 
ing. I was desirous of ascertaining from her while 
in the Mesmeric state, whether she had a correct 
idea of the lapse of time, and I soon learned that she 
was well aware how long Isabella had been asleep — 
that this was Sunday — and that the hour was then 
half-past eleven o'clock. A bottle of smelling-salts 
held at the nostril of Mr. Dove caused her immediately 
to move, and she described the sensation accurately. 
As the hour appointed by herself for awakening ap- 
proached, the individuals present ceased from con- 
versing with the patient, and sat down at some dis- 
tance from her in the apartment. At about ten 
minutes past one, according to the time by our 
watches, she began to move, stretched out her arms 
slowly, heaved one very deep sigh, and, having 
rubbed her eyes for a minute or two, looked round, 
and recognised the persons present. I should state, 
that as the patient went to sleep on a Thursday, 
when awakened on the previous Sunday she believed 
it to be Friday, and after her renewed sleep of a 
week, she now conceived that another day had 
elapsed, and that this was Saturday. Upon being 
asked how she felt, the answer was — ( Much better 
than yesterday/ ' Was the headach, &c, gone ? ' 
4 Yes, quite.' ' Was she well otherwise ?' ' Yes, 
except that her mouth was a little sore.' It was 
then explained to her how this had happened ; but as 
she was unacquainted with the operation of calomel, 
she could not comprehend how the mouth could have 
become sore in one night. Her father, who had just 
come home from church, now entered the room, and 
she immediately inquired what he was doing there 
with his Sunday clothes on. A gentleman present, 



CASES; 111 

for the purpose of trying her, said, ' This is the 
Saturday of the preachings you know, Isabella, and 
your father will be going to church.' Qlt may be 
as well to explain, that this was the Sunday on 
which the half-yearly administration of the Lord's 
Supper is celebrated ; that in Scotland this is preceded 
by what is termed a Fast-day, which in Glasgow is 
always the Thursday before the Sacramental Sunday, 
and that on the previous Saturday there is also ser- 
mon in the churches.] She answered that it could 
not be the Saturday of the preachings, because the 
Fast-day was not till next Thursday. ' Well, well/ 
said another gentleman, ' since you must know the 
truth, this is Sunday.' ' And have I been asleep 
for two whole days ? ' was her exclamation ; and it 
was with some difficulty she could be convinced that 
even this was true. Some farther conversation en- 
sued, when it was deemed right to enlighten her as 
to the fact that she had not only been asleep two 
days, but had completed almost ten whole days in 
that state. ' Isabella,' said one of the gentlemen 
present, ' what would you say to this being the 
Sacrament Sunday?' 'You 're joking with me, 
now/ was her answer ; ' I know quite well that the 
preachings are not till next Sunday ; next Thursday 
is the Fast-day.' It was some time before convic- 
tion came ; but when she was assured by her mother, 
and others around her, that it was really so, it would 
be no easy matter to describe the feeling of surprise 
which her countenance exhibited. 

" The effects of the ten days' sleep have been of 
the most beneficial character to the patient. The 
Mesmeric treatment for the general re-establishment 
of her health is now proceeding without interruption, 
and, as already noticed, two months have elapsed 
since she had the slightest symptom of a fit. There 
is, therefore, every seeming probability that an indi- 
vidual who, for twelve or fourteen years, was a con- 



112 MESMERISM. 

firmed invalid, and who, during five years of that 
time, was subject to this dreadful disease, will, by a 
skilful perseverance in the present treatment, become 
in time a useful member of society. Whatever may 
be the general character of Mesmerism, it is vain to 
deny that the curative process has, in this instance, 
been thus far successful. People may dispute as 
long as they choose about names, some arguing for 
the existence of a magnetic fluid, and others declar- 
ing the results to be merely the effect of imagina- 
tion ; but whether the one or the other, is of little 
consequence compared to the fact, that by means 
such as have been described, and which are applicable 
to a numerous class of diseases, the sick may be re- 
stored to convalescence." 

The above was written in April, and after the 
lapse of months, the patient has had no return of the 
fits. 

Her father, however, has been made the suf- 
ferer. The threat of the employer was carried out ; 

and because John D permitted his daughter, 

whose case had for years baffled the skill of many of 
the leading members of the Glasgow Faculty, to be 
treated in the only manner that seemed likely to 
save her life, he was dismissed from an employment 
which he had held, with credit to himself, for the 
long period of twenty-six years ! That there was no 
other cause of complaint against John D is evi- 
dent from the following certificate of character which 
was given soon after the dismissal took place. 

"Glasgow, 25th April 1843. 

" We hereby certify, that John D has been 

in our employment since June 183 7, as a cooper, till 
December 1834, since which time he has acted as 
foreman of our work here to within the last three 
weeks, and during the whole of that time we found 
him uniformly attentive, sober, and honest. 

(Signed) "G M & Co." 



CASES. 1 1 3 

Mesmerism, therefore, has not been without its 
martyrs even during the short time it has been prac- 
tically known in Scotland. "We trust, however, that 
conduct such as we have described will meet with 
few imitators. 



ISABELLA H- 



This case has already been slightly alluded to in 
the account of the preceding one ; but, unlike her 
Mesmeric sister Martha, Mary, a young woman of 
probably twenty-five years of age, was in the enjoy- 
ment of perfect health. Some of the phenomena 
now to be described are of an even more extraordi- 
nary nature than those previously laid before the 
reader. As regards community of sensation between 
the operator and patient, and other experiments of 
that nature, they have been so often tested that there 
cannot be the slightest doubt of their truth, and we 
would only be disposed to hesitate when the power 
is claimed on behalf of clairvoyants of being able to 
see and describe what is going on in other places, 
possibly at a distance of many miles. Wonderful, 
however, as these statements are, we have not thought 
it right to withhold them. They have been all made 
by men of character and probity, who are themselves 
fully convinced of the truth of what they have 
written ; and, without farther introduction, we com- 
mence with the evening on which the Mesmeric inter- 
view already described took place. 

" The other subject of the experiments of this 
evening was a remarkably pretty, interesting-looking 
young woman, who had remained in the room the 
whole time that the above experiments were in pro- 
gress. She was thrown into the Mesmeric sleep or 
state in about two minutes, by a different operator. 

H 



114 MESMERISM. 

Her face became pale, and the features severe in 
expression — more markedly so, I thought, through- 
out, than in the other case. The room was com- 
pletely darkened, in order that the clairvoyance 
might be more distinctly impressed on her. In reply 
to queries put in a low voice, she answered also in a 
low but distinct voice, ' that she was in a state of 
perfect happiness and quiet, walking in light — that 
her own body was filled with light — that all around 
her was light,' &c. She answered a vast number of 
questions in regard to the houses of different indivi- 
duals, and the personal appearance of individuals ; 
some of these with most extraordinary precision. 
She was desired to describe the parlour of one of the 
friends who accompanied me. She replied imme- 
diately, that it was ' a square compact room, with 
some pictures on the walls ; some large, some small, 
and pretty far apart ; a high case at one side, like 
a bookcase, with glass doors ; the light hung from 
the roof; a lady was sitting at a table in the room 
knitting or sewing.' ' "Was there only one lady 
in the room?' 'Only one.' 'And in the house?' 
' In another apartment, which seemed a kitchen, 
there was another lady speaking to a servant-girl.' 
' Were there any animals in the house ?' ' Yes, a cat 
was near the lady in the kitchen.' This was an exact 
account of my friend's parlour and domestic esta- 
blishment. She was desired to go to my house, and 
upstairs to the front room, then to describe the room. 
' It was a pretty room — not the ordinary shape — 
not with four sides — and there was a kind of cut in.' 
She drew the plan of the room on the palm of her 
hand with her fore-finger ; ' it is this shape,' — 



CASES. J 15 

which it is. She was asked to go to Mr. J. B.'s 
house in St. Mungo Street, Barony Glebe. She 
went at once. ' It is round the corner, up stairs.' 
' How many stairs up V ' As high as you can go ; 
the top of the land.' This last query was put by 
my friend, who had told Mr. J. B. in the forenoon 
where he was going that night. Mr. J. B. said to 
him, half in jest, ' Take her to my house in St. 
Mungo Street, as I shall be at home all night/ The 
situation of the house was described with perfect 
correctness." 

The following account was drawn up by a gentle- 
man from England, who was on a visit to a friend in 
Glasgow about the end of March 1843, and had two 
or three opportunities afforded him of seeing Isa- 
bella H . 

" Learning, soon after my arrival in Glasgow, 
that a gentleman with whom I was acquainted was 
going to see a person Mesmerised, I requested and 
obtained permission to accompany him. I was an- 
xious to do so, as I had read some of the works on 
Mesmerism, and the statements of the friends of this 
science appeared to me so preposterous, that I had 
become exceedingly incredulous on the subject. We 
accordingly went to the place at the appointed time, 
there being no one present, excepting my friend, who 
knew any thing about me. I will not enter into a 
detail of what occurred that evening, and will only 
remark, that what are called the physical experi- 
ments were eminently successful. The patient was 
afterwards requested to go to my house, and describe 
its external appearance and position ; also to go into 
it, and to describe the furniture of one of the rooms, 
which was, in some degree, peculiar. The descrip- 
tion she gave was very nearly correct. What I saw 
and heard that evening compelled me to alter my 
opinion, and to acknowledge that Mesmerism was 
real and not simulated. 



116 MESMERISM. 

" I was, however, very desirous of seeing more of 
the phenomena, and willingly took advantage of 
another opportunity of doing so. On this occasion, 
there were eight gentlemen present. The patient 
was Mesmerised in what I understand to be the 
usual way, and her eyes were bandaged so as to 
satisfy all present, that it was impossible she could 
see. The operator was, by a sign, desired to go into 
another apartment, and to wish her to come to him, 
which she did, first coming into the middle of the 
room ; he was then requested to seat himself on the 
opposite side of the room, and wish her to come to 
him. She did so, stopping a little beside two gentle- 
men in crossing over. 

" Mr. C sat down before her, took hold of her 

hands, and put something in his mouth known only 
to himself ; she described it as being hot and very 
disagreeable, her face, at the same time assuming the 
expression of a person taking disagreeable medicine ; 
she began to be sick, and was nearly vomiting. It 
was the end of a cigar, and the gentleman said if he 
had kept it much longer in his mouth, he would have 

been sick himself. Mr. B sat down, took a 

snuff silently while he grasped her hands ; it imme- 
diately caused her to sneeze several times, and so 
naturally as to satisfy us all that she actually felt 
the sensation which snuff produces on persons unac- 
customed to it. Ammonia was applied to her nose 
without producing any effect ; it was then placed to 
the nose of the gentleman who had hold of her hand, 
who was desired to choose his own time for inhaling, 
— the moment he did so, she pulled away her hands, 
said it was not right to do so, and that they had 

put something to her brain. Mr. C also tried 

taking snuff, and it produced the same results as 
before. Asafcetida was inhaled by a gentleman, 
and she described it as being very bad and disagree- 
able. 



CASES. 1 1 7 

" The light was flashed across her face ; she said a 
great darkness had come upon her. 

" These gentlemen tried in turn to wish her to raise 
one of her hands, and they all said she had done so, 
and the precise hand they had wished. She was 
pricked with a pin without manifesting any feeling ; 
but on the same being done to the gentleman in con- 
tact with her, she pulled away her hands, and rubbed 
them on the part corresponding to that which the 
pin had been applied ; his hair was also pulled, and 
she put her hand to her head in a similar way. 

u Mr. A then requested her to go to his house, 

which she did with no other clue, and described it 
very accurately, giving an exact account of his wife, 
and some other members of his household, and what 
they were doing, so as completely to satisfy Mr. 

A of her power of clairvoyance ; he said when 

he left us, that he would not be able to sleep all night 
after what he had heard and seen. 

" The other gentlemen being engaged in conversa- 
tion, I went up to the patient, and giving her my 
hand, tried her powers in wishing her to grasp it or to 
let it go, and endeavoured, by varying the wishes, to 
puzzle her if she did it on a plan, as some have said ; 
but she was invariably right. 

" The above is a very short and imperfect sketch of 
the transactions of the evening, which, to my mind, 
were very satisfactory." 

The following account was given by another gen- 
tleman of Mary's powers of describing places at a 
distance which she had never seen : — 

" The patient was requested to go to a place of 
business in town, with all the internal arrangements 
of which I was perfectly familiar. She replied, ' I 
do not know it.' The Mesmeriser said, ' It is in 
Street, go and find it out.' Almost imme- 
diately she indicated that she had discovered the 
place, and was desired to go in, and describe what she 



1 1 8 MESMERISM. 

saw. Her description did not accord with the state 
of the premises ; but, strangely enough, I heard suf- 
ficient to convince me that she had entered, not the 
place desired, but a bank situated next door. She 
was in the teller's room, and explained the position 
of the long desk, and railings adjoining, with great 
accuracy. Having been frequently in this bank, I 
recognised at once the description she gave of it. She 
seemed puzzled when asked to tell the use of the 
railings, but at length said, ' I think they must be 
for the salvation of the bank/ The word 'bank' 
had not been previously made use of either by the 
Mesmeriser or myself. She was now told, ' You 
have gone into the wrong place ; go and seek the 
one you were first desired to find out,' — the place 
being at the same time named to her. She then in- 
dicated that she had found it, and was asked where 
she was. ' At the door.' c What kind of a door is 
it V i It is just like an other door.' ' Well, go in.' 
' It is locked and fastened.' ' How is it fastened ?' 
' There is a long dark thing across it, and a thing 
like that' (doubling her fist.) Now, I was aware 
that the door in question was fastened outside with a 
long iron-bar and a padlock, the door itself being 
locked besides. She was then told to open the door 
and go in, which she accordingly said she had done. 
' What do you see?' 'I see a railing before me.' 
' How does the railing go V ' It goes up that way,' 
(making a motion with her hand upwards — all right.) 
( What is the railing attached to ?' 'I cannot say 
what it is ;' but, on being more particularly ques- 
tioned, she said it was a stair — again right. She 
was then desired to pass the railing, and proceed 
through a large apartment to the door of a smaller 
apartment leading from it. This room she was asked 
to enter. ' What do you see V ' I see a very neat, 
nice place.' ' What do you find in it V l There is a 
nice desk — a low desk' — (correct.) 4 Is the desk 



cases. 1 1 y 

open or shut V i It is open' — (also correct, the desk 
having that night been left open.) ' Is there any- 
thing on the walls ?' ' They are very pretty* — (the 
walls are neatly papered.) ' But do you see anything 
on the walls V i I see a number of things around 
them.' ' Are they pictures V ' No/ ' What are 
they V { I cannot tell ; one of them has a thing pic- 
tured all round it.' I may here state, that round the 
walls were several printed placards, and that one of 
them had a very broad ornamental border round the 
margin. 'Is there a carpet on the floor?' ' Yes/ 
— (correct.) ' Are there any seats in the room V 
' Yes, there are, one, two, three, and another seat.' 
This question was repeated several times, and the 
same answer received. In point of fact there were 
only three seats in the room, and what she uniformly 
represented as i another seat' could not be ascer- 
tained, unless she meant the window-sill, which is 
not unlike a seat after all. The patient was next 
desired to state if there was anything upon the desk, 
when she said there was a curious dark thing, which 
she could not describe. Being asked if it was like 
an ink -stand, she replied, ' it might ;' (in reality an 
ink-stand stood upon the desk, but it was one of a 
very curious construction, and even a waking visiter 
might be excused for not being able accurately to de- 
scribe it.) On being farther questioned, she said 
there was a bit of paper on the desk — (correct.) 
She was then asked to go into a dark closet, used 
partly as a lumber-room and partly as a receptacle 
for a certain description of goods, the latter being 
placed above each other in large packages. When 
asked what sort of a room this was, she said, ' It is 
a curious-looking place, not like the last/ ' What 
kind of a place is it V 'I think it is a place for put- 
ting past things in/ ' What do you see in it V ' I 
see things laid, and laid, and laid,' — making a mo- 
tion with her hand to indicate that the articles were 



1 20 MESMERISM. 

laid one aoove another.) This struck me as a very 
accurate description of the packages already referred 
to. e What more do you see V ' I see a number of 
things lying about/ ' Describe them more particu- 
larly/ e I see a place where a number of other things 
are laid, and laid, and laid/ — (making the same mo- 
tion with her hand as before.) ' What kind of a 
place is that V 4 It has one, two, three, four, five 
wards, I think/ e Does it look like a press V c Yes, 
it is a press ; and it has folding -doors.' This was an 
accurate description of a press in the closet, contain- 
ing a quantity of paper, laid in the way described by 
the patient. The patient was now requested to go 
to another room on the premises, the door of which 
she said was shut — (correct.) Having entered, she 
said there was a large thing in it resembling a table 
more than a desk, — (correct) — that there were many 
things on it she could not describe accurately, fthe 
table had lying on it a number of small papers in a 
loose and irregular manner.] She said there was at 
the foot of the table a large square thing, very thick 
on the one side, and narrow at the other, £this was 
an accurate description of a portable writing-desk 
which lay on the table, and also of its position.] 
' Are there any seats in the room V e Yes/ ' How 
many V ' One, two, and another seat/ There 
were, in fact, two chairs in the room, but what was 
meant by ' another seat' could not be ascertained, 
unless, as in the case of the other room, the window- 
sill was again taken for a seat. She then stated that 
there was a seat just below the portable desk referred 
to, in which she was also correct. In this room there 
is one window only for light, but an opening pane of 
glass is fixed in a partition, for the purpose of com- 
municating, when necessary, with an adjoining room. 
Being asked if there were any windows in the room, 
she replied, ' One,' and on being asked to look more 
darticularly, she said, ■ There is one window, and a 



CASES. 121 

contracted looking thing, that is a window, and is 
not a window.' fc If it is not a window, what is it ?' 
' It is a contracted thing ; not a window, and yet like 
a window.' ' Is it like a pane of glass ?' After a 
little hesitation, she said, ' Yes, it is a pane of glass.' 
She was then asked if there was a carpet on the floor, 
and correctly answered, ' No.' Being asked to de- 
scribe what she saw on the floor, she spoke of a 
number of articles too trifling to be of any conse- 
quence in the investigation; but on being told to 
look well, and see if there was any thing of a strik- 
ing nature, she replied, ' A part of the floor is 
marked off.' ' Well, what is it V After a moment's 
hesitation, she drew back with an expression of fear, 
and said, in evident discomposure, ' It is a horrible 
looking place — it's a dungeon.' ' A dungeon ! — is 
there a door upon it ?' ' Yes.' e "Well, lift it up.' 
After a pause, ' Have you lifted it ?' ' Yes.' ' What 
do you see ?' ' A horrible looking place — it's like a 
dungeon.' ' Have you looked down V 4 Yes.' ' Is 
there any light in it ?' ' No — its not a nice place.' 
' How did you lift the door ?' ' There is a thing 
upon it which men in the world would lift it by.' 
4 What kind of a thing is that ?' ' I can't tell/ ' Is 
it wood or iron?' ' It must be iron, for it is very 
hard.' This description was perfectly accurate in 
every particular. In the room there is a trap-door 
on the floor, used for lowering articles to the sunk 
flat, and the appearance below is not unlike that of 
a dungeon — the door is lifted by a small iron ring, 
which she described as ' the thing men in the world 
would lift it by,' as if to indicate that she re- 
quired no such facility in doing it. The peep into 
4 the dungeon,' evidently caused her considerable 
annoyance. 

" The patient was then requested to look through 
the pane of glass referred to and state what she saw, 
when she correctly described the room adjoining and 
some part of its contents. Having been asked to go 



122 MESMERISM. 

in, she did so ; and among other things, mentioned 
with great distinctness, a standing screen, which 
stretched across part of the floor. This she called 
' drapery,' but very accurately described that it was 
standing, not hanging, and the position it occupied 
in the room. 

" The above I vouch to be, in almost every particu- 
lar, a correct description of the premises. In one or 
two trifling matters there were some inaccuracies, but 
these I believe to have arisen more from the manner 
in which the questions were put than from mistake 
on her part. It may be proper to state that she 
never was in the place in her life, and that the 
position of things was described by her which 
no person on earth, except one, knew any thing 
about." 

We have now to adduce the testimony of a fourth 
witness, who thus describes what fell under his ob- 
servation : — 

" Besides the operator, there were four strangers 
present, including myself. Before commencing I had 
some conversation with the patient. She is a young 
woman of apparently three-and-twenty, and, as far 
as I could judge, in perfect health. I referred to 
a previous meeting, and enquired if, on being 
awakened, she had any recollection of what had pass- 
ed. She said ' No / and added, that she never re- 
collected any thing of what passed in the Mesmeric 
state. The operator having proceeded to throw 
her into the state of trance, this was effected in 
little more than a minute. Her eyes gradually closed, 
and a sort of sigh, or, more properly speaking, a 
long-drawn breath, announced that she was asleep. 
The states of pliant and rigid catalepsy were now 
exhibited, and here I observed that the same passes 
which produced the rigid state, if continued too long, 
brought the arm or leg back again to pliancy. I 
then assisted to cover the eyes of the patient with a 
bandage of the most complete description, and satis- 



CASES. 1 23 

lied myself that, from the use of her eyes at least, 
she could derive no possible assistance in any of the 
proceedings which were to follow. While the ope- 
rator was engaged with the other gentlemen in 
another part of the room, and I was left standing 
alone near the patient, I looked earnestly upon her 
right hand — then resting on her knee — and inwardly 
(without even a motion of the lips) expressed a wish 
that it should rise towards me. It did gradually 
rise, and was extended in the direction in which I 
stood. Another of the gentlemen present, afterwards, 
at my desire, or rather on my making a sign to him 
to that effect, tried the same experiment on the left 
hand, and with the same result. 

" I had arranged in the forenoon with one of the 
gentlemen present, that, at a time to be indicated by 
myself, and without notice to the operator, he should 
leave the room and go through a passage, and into 
another room, and that, at the expiry of three mi- 
nutes, he should wish the patient to come to him. 
I had been told that, on several previous occasions, 
a person had gone out of the room, and at once ex- 
pressed a wish that she should follow, and that she 
had immediately done so. But I thought it possible 
that she might so follow because she heard the person 
go out. To test the experiment properly, therefore, 
I arranged, as I have stated, that the gentleman who 
went out should not conceive his wish till the expiry 
of the time I have mentioned. When the three mi- 
nutes had expired, I looked towards the patient, and 
observed that she still kept her seat ; but she was 
sitting forward, in an attitude of attention, as if 
listening, and she continued thus for nearly three 
minutes longer. Thinking that the experiment had 
failed, I said to the operator that he had better 
speak to her. He accordingly approached her, and, 
taking her hand, inquired if she wanted any thing. 
She said, ' What is it you wish me to do V 4 Nothing,' 



124 MESMERISM. 

he answered ; ' I did not wish any thing.' But he 
had misunderstood her question. It was evident, 
from what followed, that she was asking for directions 
from him as to what she ought to do. He then said 
to her, ' Do you hear any thing ?' ' Yes ; she 
replied, ' a voice calls me.' ' Well, then, go,' said 
the operator. She paused on this, and then said, 
4 Always asking something improper.' She now 
rose from her seat, however, and came into the 
middle of the room ; but the light from the fire, into 
which this movement had brought her, seemed to 
confuse her, and, after some hesitation, she said to 
the operator, ' I cannot find the way — put me on 
the way.' On this he led her to the door, and set 
her face towards the darkness. As soon as this was 
done, she went on with confidence and without hesi- 
tation, walked through the dark passage, went 
straight into the room in which the gentleman was, 
and proceeded to the particular corner in which he 
was standing. 

" The following experiments in regard to taste 
were then made : — Some pounded alum being put 
into the operator's mouth, she hesitated, and said, 
she had got something in her own mouth of a taste 
like an orange. I tasted the alum myself, and it 
seemed to have lost somewhat of its strength ; and 
another gentleman present was of the -same opinion. 
Another gentleman now took her hand, and I put 
in his mouth a cayenne lozenge. She described it as 
' a thing like a lozenge — hot and sweet.' This des- 
cription was strictly accurate. I then put an acidu- 
lated drop into my own mouth, and took hold of her 
hand. She called this ' something round — a confec- 
tion or sweetie.' But upon another gentleman put- 
ting some common salt in his mouth, and taking her 
hand, she said she had something ' wersh and watery' 
in her mouth. She was now tried with tea, and said 
she tasted ' something like aloes — something which 



CASES. 125 

drew the mouth together/ It was strong tea, and 
of course astringent ; but the taste she described may 
partly perhaps have been produced by some combin- 
ation of the alum (which she had previously tasted) 
with the tea ; for I observed, from several experi- 
ments, that in some cases she did not immediately 
perceive what was in the mouth of the operator — 
that, on the contrary, she did not seem to taste it till 
some time afterwards. A piece of sugar was next 
put into the operators mouth, and she said she had 
got something sweet. One of the gentlemen present 
then put some bitter aloes into his own mouth, and 
after he had it sometime there, he took hold of the 
patient's hands : ' What have you got now ? ' was 
asked. ■ It is bad/ she said,' it is strange stuff ; ' 
and after an interval, during which her mouth was 
moving as if tasting something unpleasant, she added, 
4 It is awful bad.' Indeed, she got so evidently dis- 
tressed and annoyed at the taste, that the operator 
asked her if she would have some water. She eagerly 
said she would, and some was procured in a glass. 
A curious scene now followed. She took it into her 
hands, paused a moment, and then returned it to 
him. ' Well, what is it ?' he asked. ' You have 
not blessed it,' she said. He took it from her, held 
it a few seconds, and then returned it, saying, ' Well 
— there.' She raised it towards her mouth, but again 
stopped, and said, l It is strange that you will not do 
as you ought,' and then a second time gave it back un- 
tasted. I did not know what she meant by having the 
water ' blessed ;' but, in order still farther to pursue 
the experiment, I motioned to the operator to give 
it a third time to her without doing any thing to it. 
He did so, and she now said, in a kind of plaintive 
voice, ' Must I take it this way V The operator was 
now about to comply with her wish, but, at my de- 
sire, he asked, ' Can you not take it so.' To which 
she answered, in a slow solemn tone, ' It is not meet 



126 MESMERISM. 

that I should/ The operator now took the glass, and 
having breathed into it, returned it to her. On this 
she drank from it eagerly. As she still complained 
of the taste of the aloes, however, the operator asked 
us if we had any thing pleasant to the taste, on which 
I took her hand, and put into my own mouth some 
acid drops, which I broke and swallowed. She re- 
marked that ' that was pleasant — that the taste was 
better now/ 

" This was the last of those experiments which 
may be said to fall under Mr. Townshend's descrip- 
tion of ' facts connected with the senses, or which 
illustrate the close affinity between the Mesmeriser 
and his patient — indicative of some medium of com- 
munication existing between them/ What followed 
was an experiment of a different class — one, namely, 
to test that extraordinary faculty, ascribed to Mes- 
meric patients, of being able to describe places at a 
distance, which they never could have seen, and to 
tell what is going on at the moment in any given lo- 
cality. I had agreed in the forenoon, with one of 
the gentlemen present, that the patient should be 
asked to describe the internal arrangement of the 
house of a third party. In three rooms of it there 
were articles of furniture so uncommon as to exclude 
the possibility of a description being given of them 
by guess — and one of the rooms had, by previous ar- 
rangement with the proprietor, been prepared that 
evening in a particular way. I may mention, that, 
while conversing with the girl, before she was put 
asleep, I endeavoured to make her understand the 
locality of the house in question Cbut without telling 
her whose house it was,) so as to make sure that she 
would get to it, in the Mesmeric state — but she did 
not know the place, and apparently could not follow 
the description which I endeavoured to give her. I 
need not go through the account which she gave of 
it in her sleep-waking state. Suffice to say, that 



CASES. 127 

she found it out and described it with accuracy — in- 
cluding a minute description of the state of that 
room which had been purposely arranged in a par- 
ticular manner. In nothing did she go wrong, ex- 
cept in describing the proprietor as being in one 
room, when he was in another. It was altogether 
wonderful. I offer uo opinion on the matter ; but 
of this I am satisfied, that trick or collusion there 
was none, and could be none. The introduction of 
this experiment, by the way, was very curious and 
striking. The following conversation took place : — 
(Operator,) ' Will you go to a particular place which 
I wish V (Patient,) ' If I am permitted.' ' Oh ! 
but you are permitted, — I allow you to go/ f But 
you will recollect you are not my master in all 
things/ c Who is your master V { My master is 
here.' ' Who is he V She answered slowly and 
solemnly, * It is Christ/ After a short pause, during 
which I experienced a feeling of awe, which was 
participated in, I am sure, by the others present, she 
added, ' I will go now ;' and then she went on to 
give the description. One part of this was so strik- 
ing, as to deserve special notice. Among other fur- 
niture in one of the rooms, she was attracted by, and 
described what she called a picture ; it was of a 
peculiar shape, she said, which she described. The 
description was most accurate ; but the article in 
question is not a picture, but a mirror of a very 
peculiar kind. Having described the shape, frame, 
&c, she was asked, ' Well, but what is it a picture 
of?' She could not tell; she said, 'It was dim/ 
1 Well, but you must go near and look at it, and see 
what it is/ She apparently did so, for she imme- 
diately fell into a state of violent agitation. ' What 
is it V the operator asked. ' Oh ! she said, it is a 
woman, and she is mad ! her head is tied up with 
cloths. She is mad ; oh ! can she not be cured !' It 
was evidently her own figure — with the bandage 



128 MESMERISM. 

about her eyes — which she saw reflected in the mir- 
ror ! At this time she was in a state of great agita- 
tion ; I felt her hands and arms, and they were shak- 
ing violently, as with great terror, and she moaned 
like a person in distress. ' What is the woman 
doing V was then asked. ' Oh !' she said, ' she is 
looking through these cloths.' 4 Do you know who 
it is V ' Oh, no !' and she moaned again, and con- 
tinued to tremble greatly. The operator seemed 
now afraid that it was too much for her, and told 
her to come away from the picture, (for still she did 
not discover it was a mirror;) but she would not 
leave it for some time — always reverting to c the 
woman,' and that t she was mad/ At last, after the 
operator had repeatedly desired her to leave it, she 
said, that she c had drawn away her head/ 

" I may add, that after I left, one of my friends 
remained, and obtained from the patient a descrip- 
tion of two other houses, — his own, and that of one 
of his friends, in both of which she was strictly 
accurate." 

The writer of the foregoing was so much interested 
in the subject, that he continued the investigation, 
and at a subsequent period recorded the result as 
follows : — 

" I have been recently induced to avail myself of 
some additional opportunities of testing this very 
wonderful science, and of observing more minutely 
some of its more peculiar phenomena. I shall now 
state some additional facts which have fallen under 
my notice, because, whatever conclusion may be 
ultimately come to, it is proper that parties, having 
opportunities of observation, should contribute the 
results towards the collection of facts which it is 
essential should yet be formed before anything like a 
satisfactory theory can be announced. 

" One curious subject of inquiry is this, — In what 
manner does the -patient receive impressions of 



CASES. ] 29 

objects at a distance ? for that this power is possessed, 
I do not entertain the least doubt. Is it by means 
of impressions conveyed from, the object to the mind 
or brain ? — in the way, for example, as the impres- 
sions of distant objects are communicated to us by 
means of the eye. Or is the patient brought into 
more immediate connection with the object in some 
other manner ? I cannot find a satisfactory solution 
of this in any of the experiments yet made. You 
will recollect the singularly correct description which 
the girl, Mary, gave of a mirror of a peculiar con- 
struction, which she called a picture. She described 
it, in fact, as one would do who was actually looking 
at it. But when asked to go near and tell what it 
was a picture of, she discovered the reflection of her- 
self in it, and described a woman, with her head and 
eyes bound about with cloths, — to her evident terror 
and surprise. Now, the question is, How did she 
come thus to see her own figure ? for bodily she was 
not in that room, but in another place more than a 
mile distant. I have not myself tested this matter 
farther, but a friend, in whose report I have perfect 
confidence, did so a few nights ago. She described 
a mirror in my friend's house, which, as before, she 
called a picture, and also mentioned the same appear- 
ance of a woman standing before it. My friend then 
put his hand over her head in a position as if holding 
something; and on her being asked what else she 
saw, she said that she saw in the picture a person 
pouring something on the woman's head. He then 
changed the motion of his hand, and she described 
the altered position. Now, the singularity of all 
this consists, not in the girl seeing my friend's hand 
over her head, but in her observing it in the mirror. 
" Another very curious phenomenon is the power 
of describing not only the occurrences of the present 
moment, but those which took place previously, and 
at a time when the patient could not have been in 
i 



1 30 MESMERISM. 

the Mesmeric state. An instance of this fell under 
my observation lately, as to which there could be no 
mistake. She was asked to go to the house of a 
particular individual, and into a particular room, and 
to describe what she saw. She said she saw a bed 
— that there was a gentleman in it, and that he was 
ill, and suffering great pain. ' Where V ' In his 
leg and foot.' B Which V ' His left ; and he is rest- 
ing all his weight on the right, so as to give the 
other ease.' She added, that the gentleman was at 
the moment wishing most earnestly for a particular 
medicine to give him ease. This and other state- 
ments were accurate in the minutest particulars. 
But what I allude to particularly was this. She 
was asked if the gentleman was ailing in any other 
way, and she described a particular affection, (diffe- 
rent altogether from the other complaint,) stating 
that it had begun to affect him many years ago. 
She then told where it had first come on, and how, 
and, she added, that after a particular event, which 
she indicated, and which occurred many years ago, 
it had become worse. All this was strictly correct. 
I may add, that she prescribed for both complaints, 
and that the prescriptions, though peculiar, were cer- 
tainly consistent with common sense. Another in- 
stance of the knowledge of past events occurred a 
few nights previously, when I was not present. She 
told of a particular lady, (of whom she had no pre- 
vious knowledge,) not only how many children she 
had alive, but how many were dead, and whether 
they were boys or girls. I could add various other 
instances of this kind. 

" One of the phenomena, which has been very fre- 
quently observed, is, that the patient describes light 
as darkness, and vice versa, and that much light is 
very unfavourable to her clairvoyance. She com- 
plains in such cases of great darkness, and that she 
cannot see objects distinctly. This refers more to 



CASES. 131 

the light in which the objects sought to be described 
are, than to the place where the patient is. This I 
observed particularly a few nights ago, when I took 
occasion to ask a description of a place at a consider- 
able distance. At the time I put the questions, not 
only was the room in which we were quite dark, 
but it was dark outside, being eleven o'clock at 
night; yet she said there was so much darkness 
(light, of course) at the place I had directed her to, 
that she saw very indistinctly. This I was surprised 
at, until I recollected the difference of time. Upon 
this, I inquired what o'clock it was at that place, 
and she answered six o'clock. On referring to the 
map, I found that the difference of longitude was 
75° west, which gives exactly five hours, so that 
eleven o'clock in Glasgow was equal to six o'clock 
there, — just as she had stated. I may add, that she 
could not tell where the place was, or the name of it. 
She had merely been asked to find a particular per- 
son, without being told in what country he was, or 
whether he was away from Glasgow at all. She 
said she saw him, and that he was far, far away ; 
but the place she could not tell. The time which 
she gave, however, (and it is singular that, in time, 
she is always accurate,) proved that she was at the 
right place, — if, indeed, the description which she 
gave of the gentleman's person and age, and other 
circumstances, rendered any such proof necessary. 

" In connection with this peculiarity of calling 
light darkness, and darkness light, I may mention, 
that she seems to make the same difference be- 
tween cold and heat. One evening, a cup of tea, 
pretty hot, was given to her when in the Mesmeric- 
sleep. She drank part of it, and in answer to a 
question, said it was cold — very cold. The operator 
then took the cup from her, and drank the remainder 
himself, — still holding her hand. She went through 
all the motions of swallowing, and, when he had 



132 MESMERISM. 

finished, said, ' It is all done now, — that is warm 
and nice.' And, by the way, an interesting circum- 
stance occurred on her taking this cup of tea. "When 
she first got it into her hand, she returned it to the 
operator, saying, ' It was not right — he had not 
blessed it.' The operator, on this, appeared to me 
to breathe on it, — as you will recollect he did on the 
glass of water mentioned in my former notes. But 
this did not seem to satisfy her. She said he had 
not done it right, and that it had passed over the 
cup. He was accordingly about to ' do it right,' 
when one of the party suggested that a clergyman 
present should pronounce a proper blessing upon it, 
such as is done before meat. This was done. The 
clergyman took her hand in one of his, and the cup 
in the other, and pronounced over it a short impres- 
sive blessing, adding a prayer, that we might be 
directed aright in the subject which we were met to 
investigate. Mary inclined her head, and listened 
to this with marked attention. She then said, ' That 
is good — that is right — these are good words,' and, 
after a pause, she added, ' I have not heard so much 
good before.' The operator asked if she meant since 
these Mesmeric experiments commenced ? She said, 
4 Yes/ and repeated, ' I have not heard so many 
good words since I came among you,' and thereupon 
she drank the tea. 

" On this occasion she gave a correct descrip- 
tion of this same clergyman's* manse, which is some 
thirty miles distant. She described its exterior ap- 
pearance, the number of the rooms, the furniture and 
arrangement of each, the number and appearance of 
his family, the situation, shape, and interior of his 
church, and various other particulars, all with great 
accuracy. Among other articles in a press or ward- 
robe in the manse, she discovered some ' little things 
for going under the chin/ (his bands) but she could 
not name them. Being asked what he did with them, 



CASES. ] 33 

she said that he put them on when he went to speak 
to the dead. s What do you mean by that V was 
asked. e How can he speak to the dead ?' c Oh,' 
she said, ' to the dead in sin — the dead in sin.' * And 
do they attend to him ?' c Ah, no — not all — not all.' 
After minutely describing the Study, with the ar- 
rangement and appearance of the books, &c, she 
added, of her own accord, * He must be a good man 
— he sets this place apart — he sets it apart for good.' 
The only thing in which she was wrong was, in de- 
scribing the family as being in a particular room, 
when, at the time, they were in another part of the 
house. 

" But the power of correct description is not al- 
ways possessed by the patient. Immediately after- 
wards she was desired to describe a house in Edin- 
burgh, and then one in the country, both belonging to 
a gentleman present, and although in both she de- 
scribed some things with accuracy, yet there was 
throughout much confusion in her answers, and some 
of her descriptions were either incorrect or not intel- 
ligible. The gentleman in question observed, that it 
was sufficient to astonish, not to convince him. How 
the clairvoyance should not be equal on all occasions, 
is one of those phenomena which yet remains to be 
accounted for. A natural cause to which to ascribe 
it, would be, that as the evening in this instance was 
far advanced, she might be fatigued, or the sleep 
might have ceased to be so deep as before. But I 
observed the very reverse on a former occasion, when, 
during the first part of the evening, her answers were 
very unsatisfactory, but after she had been some 
hours in the sleep, and it had become very late, she 
attained a very high degree of clairvoyance, and gave 
the most correct answers to the questions put to her. 
We are yet in the infancy of the inquiry, and it is 
only by careful observation, and the accumulation of 
facts, that a true theory can be formed." 



134 MESMERISM. 

We have subsequently received an additional 
communication from the same gentleman, which we 
give in his own words. 

" In my former statement I mentioned that I had 
made certain inquiries at Mary regarding a friend 
abroad, and that her answers had satisfied me that 
she had found the place of his residence, though it 
was not named to her, and that her descriptions 
must, in certain particulars, have been correct. I 
transmitted a detailed account to my friend of all 
that passed on that occasion, and I have since re- 
ceived his answer — the course of post being about 
five weeks. The result is, that in some prominent 
particulars she was correct, while in a great many 
minute circumstances she was in error. This, there- 
fore, cannot be taken as a decisive case. 

" But about a fortnight subsequent to the first in- 
terview I had another opportunity of meeting the 
same girl, and, among other questions, I again asked 
her about my friend abroad. The account of this 
interview I likewise transmitted to him, and I have 
just received his reply. I shall give you, verbatim, 
the memorandum of the interview as I wrote it 
down at the time, and shall then subjoin my friend's 
answer. My memorandum is as follows : — 

" Tuesday Evening, 9th May, 1843. 
" ' Do you see the Rev. Mr. now — the per- 
son you saw some nights ago V ' No ; he is far 
away.' ' Look for him. You know his house. Go 
into it. Do you see him now V e No ; he is nM 
there' ' Where is he T ' He is visiting a person 
who is sick' w Do you see him V ' Yes.' ' What 
is he doing V ' He is speaking to that man. He is 
giving him medicines, and telling him what he ought 
to take.' 4 Is the man in bed V ' Yes.' ' How old 
is he V ' Thirty-Jive' e What kind of house is he 
in V c It is made of sticks — sticks.' ' Is that house 



CASES. ] 35 

far from Mr. 's V * Not very far ; he can 

walk to it.' ' Now, go back to Mr. 's house. 

Who do you see in it V ( I see two females. I 
see also another woman.' * Any one else ?' ' There 
are two wee things' ' Do you mean children ?' 
• Yes.' * Whose are they ?' ' Is not one of them 
his ?' Which V ' The eldest one.' l . Is there some 
one carrying it ?' 4 No ; it is standing.' f Why do 
you think it is his ?' ' Because it is like him here.' 
— [[Putting her hand to her mouth and chin.] — 
' Is it a boy or a girl V i It is perhaps a boy ; but it 
is dark. I cannot see well. It may not.' l Is the 
other child his also V ' It does not seem so. It is 
not like him.' ' What o'clock is it there V ' It is 
now ten minutes past sice'* 

" My friend's answer is in these terms : — 

" S , 19^ June, 1843. 



" So far as I can remember, (and I think I re- 
member correctly,) I was, on the afternoon of the 
9th of May, from home, visiting a person who was 
sick, (since dead.) He lived about four miles from 
this, in a log-house, or, as the girl says, a house 
4 made of sticks.' In addition to religious instruc- 
tion and consolation, / was giving particular direc- 
tions about some medicines which the doctor told me 
he should take. This, by the way, is a thing I very 
seldom do, as I don't like the responsibility of pre- 
scribing. The man was in bed; and his age, I 
think, was about thirty-Jive. 

u In my house, on that day, there were two ladies, 

Mrs. S — — and her sister Mrs. R . There were 

also two servants, but one of them was, in all proba- 
bility, out. The ' two wee things' correspond with 

* u At this time it was one or two minutes past eleven, p.m. in 
Glasgow, which, according to the difference of longitude, gives 
exactly the time at the place of the Rev. Mr. 's residence." 



136 MESMERISM. 

my little E and Mrs. S 's little boy, about 

two years and a half old. A stranger, I dare say, 

would say that the boy was more like me than E , 

as his features are more full and prominent. I think 
it was between four and six that on that day I was 
visiting the sick man." 

u It will be recollected that it was after the descrip- 
tion given of Mr. 's visit to the sick man, and 

after she had given the account of his own house, 
that Mary stated the time to be ten minutes past 
six ; and as this, though related above in few words, 
occupied a considerable time in describing (consider- 
ably more than half an hour,) her statement of time 

is quite consistent with the fact that Mr. visited 

the sick man c between four and six/ In all other 
respects you will observe that the coincidence is very 
remarkable, and, to my mind, excludes the idea of its 
being the result of mere guessing on the girl's part." 

The following statement is from the pen of a gen- 
tleman who has had numerous opportunities of see- 
ing the Mesmeric phenomena : — 

" I have been very frequently present when Isa- 
bella H was Mesmerised, and am thoroughly 

satisfied of the truth, not only of the physical pheno- 
mena, but also of those of clairvoyance. 

" I have seen the patient taken by the hand by 
another, and articles having different tastes, whether 
sour, sweet, bitter, salt, pungent and hot, or other- 
wise, put in the mouth of the latter, and the taste 
distinctly told by the former, when blindfolded, and 
a handkerchief, besides, suspended and held by others 
between the parties. 

" In regard to clairvoyance, I have asked questions 
under circumstances in which the patient could by 
no means have access to information so as to give a 
power to answer by any ordinary method, and have 
often received answers that were of such a nature as 
to satisfy me that the objects described must have 



CASES. 137 

been seen to be so described. I have had paintings 
on a particular wall of a room described most mi- 
nutely, and articles of furniture, where they were en- 
tirely different from those in general use. I have 
known persons described in an adjoining room, and 
what they were engaged in — all in accordance with 
the facts. Also articles placed in rooms locked up, 
with a view to proving the truth of clairvoyance per- 
fectly described, more especially when the apartment 
was darkened. 

" I will only give the result of one meeting which 
took place at the house of a respected friend, well 
known in Glasgow. A gentleman present, recently 
arrived from one of the presidencies in the East In- 
dies, had his house in the capital city described in 
such a manner, as completely satisfied him that the 
patient was correct in her statements. His manager, 
his domestics, his dogs, the machine for lifting water, 
which he had no recollection of till described by its 
appearance, and the creaking noise it made when in 
motion, being of the nature of a Persian wheel. This 
gentleman said that the description she gave of the 
house, and which was most remarkably minute and 
lengthened, could not apply to any other house in the 
city, it being so different from the usual style of houses 
there. A gentleman from the same locality, who left 
Bombay within the last two months, and to whom I 
afterwards related the circumstance, confirmed in the 
most ample manner the first mentioned gentleman's 
corroboration of the account by the clairvoyant, as 
to the remarkably unique style of the house. 

" The first mentioned gentleman's family, who now 
reside at Highgate, near London, were described so 
minutely, together with the other inmates of the house, 
as left the gentleman no room to doubt the accuracy 
of the description. 

44 I allude to these occurrences as being the most 
recent that have come under my observation, although 



1 38 MESMERISM. 

I have been present when even more remarkable and 
startling descriptions were given." 

Mr. Robert Chambers, in one of the Numbers for 
July 1843, of the well-known Edinburgh Journal, 
has given the following details of some occurrences 
during a visit which Mary paid to Edinburgh. 

" A friend of ours, a German, a man of letters and 
extensive information, not previously a believer in 
Mesmerism, asked her to accompany him to his father's 
house on the banks of the river near Stettin ; she did 
so, and described the country, the house, and every- 
thing in it, with the greatest correctness. Another 
friend, a lady, requested the patient to accompany 
her to her father's house in a secluded part of East 
Lothian ; she did so, described it minutely, as well 
as its environs, and stated that in the parlour she saw 
an elderly lady rubbing her ankle on a footstool, the 
part being sore (the lady's mother really had a sore 
ankle ;) even to the number of sacks in the barn, and 
the way in which these were arranged, the descrip- 
tion was found to be strictly correct. A third person, 
who for several years has used an uninhabited house, 
for the purpose of keeping some spare furniture, re- 
quested her to go to it with him. This house, it may 
be remarked, has been scarcely entered by any but 
himself for the last four or five years. She, without 
prompting or leading questions of any kind, described 
the room in which his writing-table is placed, its 
two book-cases, one at each side of the room, the table 
itself, and a wooden chair with a cut-down back, all 
with the greatest correctness. In another case, a 
neighbouring room had been arranged peculiarly, and 
among other singular objects placed in it was a skele- 
ton, which was seated on a chair, with a sheet round 
it, and a cap upon its head. She said she saw some 
one sitting in the room ; his head was smooth and cold; 
he had no feeling. A gentleman of literary and sci- 
entific attainments had her brought to his house, where 



'\ 



CASES. 139 

he had previously made some peculiar arrangements 
for the purpose of testing the reality of her powers. 
She was asked to say what was in a closed box placed 
before her. She gave a vague description of some- 
thing which proved to be a book with its back up- 
permost. c I then,' says he, c called her attention to 
the thing next it, which she described as little and 
round ; and she spoke of a string being attached to it, 
and a bit of lead. Resting a little, I asked her to 
look at the thing again, and to examine it closely. 
She then began to move her forefinger backwards and 
forwards, and spoke of wheels. The article was a 
pocket pedometer, with a string and small white-me- 
tal hook attached, and, of course, a pendulum con- 
nected with wheels in the inside.' This experimenter 
had also placed a number of articles in the shelved 
recesses at the bottom of his book-case. Having di- 
rected her attention to these, she described with cor- 
rectness a model of a ventilating apparatus and a hat- 
box in one recess, also some articles in the lowest 
shelf of another. He had placed, in the upper shelf 
of that recess, a plaster mask of one of his sons, and 
to this he directed her attention. She spoke of a 
thing with a lion's face. Surely, thought he, that 
cannot be the face of my son. Then she adverted to 
another beast, and to a thing like what the Queen 
wears on her head. His lady, standing by, observed 
that she was evidently describing the royal arms. It 
was held to be a failure ; but > in the evening, mak- 
ing particular investigation into the subject, it oc- 
curred to him to unpack a small patent coffee-mill, 
which he had bought some months before, but ne- 
glected, and which lay on the bottom shelf of the 
recess. On the side of that mill was a small brass 
tablet, affixed by the maker to denote his patent, and 
which contained the royal arms. On the supposition 
that she had not followed him from the lower to the 



A 



140 MESMERISM. 

upper shelf, the description might be presumed to be 
correct." 

With this we conclude the account of this highly 
singular case. We have contented ourselves with 
adducing the testimony of witnesses, far above the 
breath of suspicion, and leave our readers to judge of 
what has been stated for themselves. 



MARY M- 



In this case, Mr. Gardner of Glasgow acted as the 
Mesmeriser, and the details are given on his autho- 
rity. The patient was seen by various parties dur- 
ing the progress of the cure, who can bear testimony 
to the general accuracy of the statements. 

Mary M is about twenty-two years of age, 

and had for five years been under treatment for dis- 
eased spine. She had also been subject to nervous 
attacks, although they never assumed a serious form 
until about the commencement of the year 1842. 
Soon after this, she was also seized with typhus 
fever, and, on recovering felt in worse health than 
before, suffering especially from a cold got at the 
time of the fever, which affected one of her legs, and 
in damp weather particularly it became swelled and 
almost powerless. The digestive organs became 
much impaired, in consequence of the treatment she 
had to undergo for the spine ; and to such an extent 
was this the case, that the medical men who attended 
her were of opinion that she was in a most precari- 
ous condition. In this way she continued to become 
worse gradually, and her condition was aggravated 
by an attack of St. Vitus' Dance, which seemed 
likely to prove highly injurious to her constitution ; 



CASES. 141 

her speech faltered so much at times that it became 
difficult to understand what she said, and her face 
twitched most immoderately. 

It was while reduced to this state, that Mesmerism 
was proposed as a remedy. The first time she was 
Mesmerised was on the 20th of March 1843; after 
the lapse of seven minutes she fell asleep, and slept 
for six minutes. On the second occasion she was 
asleep in three minutes, and slept for thirty minutes. 
The next time she slept for an hour ; and so on in- 
creasing regularly for a week, at the expiry of which 
she slept twelve hours without intermission. After 
being Mesmerised six times her speech was restored, 
and the twitchings on the face vanished. During 
the first week she had twelve fits. Her back, from 
which she had suffered so much, began to improve. 
Some symptoms of clairvoyance began to show them- 
selves. During the second week she had eight fits, 
but not so severe as the former ones, and her health 
otherwise continued to improve, as did also her lucid- 
ity as a clairvoyant. During the third week she had 
four fits, which were gradually assuming a milder 
character. She now began to examine her internal 
structure, and when the room was rendered perfectly 
dark, and her eyes bandaged, she described it with 
great apparent accuracy. She also foretold when 
the fits would come on, and their degree of severity, 
with the utmost precision. One of her prescriptions 
for herself was, that she should be kept for two 
weeks, twenty out of the twenty-four hours of each 
day in the Mesmeric sleep. In the fourth week she 
predicted that she would have two very bad fits, 
which were to be the last. They came on at the 
period indicated, and there has been since no return 
of the malady. The swelling and pain in the leg 
were, after some time, entirely removed, and she is 
now seldom troubled with dyspepsy. 

Many experiments were performed in this case 



1 42 MESMERISM. 

similar to those described in that of Isabella D . 

The Mesmeriser has frequently thrown her asleep 
when in another room, and the patient not aware of 
what he was doing. The power of the operator's 
volition was shown by her rising and performing 
any simple order, although only mentally expressed. 
Her hands could thus be made to rise at will, and 
fall in the same manner. She was never very lucid 
while in the sleep ; her descriptions of places being 
meagre. Several of the phrenological organs were 
manifested upon being touched ; and that of alimen- 
tiveness in a somewhat curious manner. It has been 
mentioned that she was troubled with her stomach ; 
and all that was necessary to restore it to the proper 
tone, was to excite this organ while she was in the 
Mesmeric sleep. A similar result was produced by 
means of metals applied to the organ, without the 
aid of the Mesmeriser. The application of metals 
had also the effect of producing rigidity, and of again 
taking it away. Thus, gold applied to the hand 
rendered it rigid, and this was instantly removed by 
the application of silver. Silver, again, in its turn, 
would produce rigidity, and gold take it away, and 
so on with other metals. By placing a piece of gold 
in the lips, a fixity similar to that of lock-jaw has 
been produced. The patient has been awakened in 
this state, when no power she could exert could open 
the mouth ; but instantly, upon another metal being 
applied, the fixity was gone. The first time she 
heard music played while in the Mesmeric sleep, she 
pointed to the organ of tune as the place affected. 

At a Mesmeric interview with Isabella D , such 

as has been already described, Elizabeth was fixed 
upon as her name, although her real name is Mary. 
In the sleep, Elizabeth can be induced to influence 
Mary to perform certain acts at some future time. 
Thus the continuance of the Mesmeric treatment for 
a time, being considered advisable, and the operator 



CASES. 143 

finding it inconvenient to visit his patient daily, had 
recourse to the system of making Elizabeth do the work 
for him. Mary being asleep, and Elizabeth awake, 
on a given evening, for example, the latter was told 
to allow Mary to sleep till six o'clock on the follow- 
ing morning ; to put her to sleep again at ten o'clock 
evening, and to keep her in that state until six 
o'clock on the succeeding morning. Unless Mary 
was informed when awake, she was ignorant of any 
arrangements entered into by Elizabeth ; and it has 
happened that she has fallen asleep at the appointed 
hour, quite unprepared, in some other apartment than 
the one she usually slept in. When this occurred, 
however, she was under no difficulty, as, although 
sound asleep, she could walk with the utmost preci- 
sion to her room and go to bed. In a similar way, 
any arrangement made during sleep will be kept 
when she is awake. She will awake quite unaware 
of what she is to perform ; but, somehow, when the 
hour comes, she feels impelled, in an undescribable 
manner, to perform what Elizabeth has undertaken. 
She will call at a particular place which she had 
never previously visited, and which had been de- 
scribed to her in the sleep, and deliver a message, or 
ask some question ; at a particular hour of the day, 
she will take up her Bible and turn at once to a cer- 
tain chapter without at the moment knowing why ; 
she will pull a certain flower in the garden, although 
a great favourite ; and so on in similar cases. The 
only proviso is, that the engagement be of a strictly 
moral and correct description. Elizabeth would at 
once spurn the idea of inducing Mary to tell a lie.* 

* The utmost caution is necessary in experiments of this de- 
scription, as if from any unforeseen cause the patient is prevented 
from carrying out the arrangement, through the absence, we 
shall suppose, of the individual to whom a message is to be de- 
livered, the consequences might be serious. Any risk of that 
kind ought especially to be avoided, if the patient is at the time 
under treatment for any ailment. 






144 MESMERISM. 

We may add to the above the following details 
by a gentleman who saw the case while the cure was 
in progress. 

" Mary M has been Mesmerised during only 

the three weeks past ; but, as she is of a highly ner- 
vous temperament, the progress made has been greater 
than it would have been under ordinary circumstances. 
The physical phenomena of catalepsy, &c, are pre- 
cisely similar to those seen in other cases, so that no 
description is necessary. The faculty of clairvoy- 
ance is developed only in so far as the apartment 
and spectators are concerned. It appears that this 
patient is exceedingly fond of music, and a gentle- 
man present having sung a plaintive air to her in a 
low tone of voice, she evinced her gratification by 
slightly moving her head and hands in proper time ; 
and, upon being asked at the conclusion, in what part 
of her system she experienced greatest satisfaction, 
she pointed with his fore-finger to the exact situation 
of the organ of tune ! The same gentleman was 
asked to sing a different air, mentally ; in the course 
of which she exhibited extreme attention, bending 
her body forward, and evincing a wish to rise from 
her seat. On being asked the reason, she stated she 
felt a strong desire to go forward, the cause of which 
she could not analyse. I have no doubt that such a 
feeling was produced by my calling to her mentally, 
— which I did during the time the song was sung — 
in order to test the effects said to be produced by 
strong volition. 

" The operator next placed his finger on the organ 
of Veneration, and after some seconds, during which 
she was examined as to her thoughts, she stated that 
she was thinking of her Sunday class, and was wish- 
ing much to be able to rejoin it. Several other ex- 
periments were made upon various organs, with re- 
sults not so satisfactory, in consequence, it was said, 
of their imperfect development. 



CASES. 145 

" It was proposed now to awake her ; immediately 
before doing so, her pulse was counted, and was 
found to be 54 ; on beiug counted again, immediate- 
ly after she was awakened in the usual way, it was 
63; an interval of only a minute or two elapsing 
between the periods. It was said, in one case, to 
have varied as much as 30 beats after one operation. 
On perceiving strangers in the room, she expressed 
considerable anxiety to the Mesmeriser, lest she had 
been divulging any secrets — the whole occurrences 
being to her a perfect blank." 

We conclude with the gratifying statement that, 
after a long interval, and down to the period of this 
work going to press, the patient has had no return of 
the fits. 



CATHERINE M- 



In this case the patient's brother was the Mes- 
meriser, and we will allow him to describe it in his 
own manner. As in that just narrated, the patient 
was frequently seen during the progress of the cure 
by many parties who can give a similar testimony to 
the accuracy of the statements. The narrative is as 
follows : — 

My sister having had a severe attack of hyste- 
rics, with nervous convulsions, I was induced to try 
the effect of Mesmerism, having learned that nervous 
individuals were very susceptible of that influence, 
and that it was very beneficial in such cases. I was 
the more anxious to try it, as I was aware that a 
friend had been successfully practising it for some 
months in similar cases. Never having seen the 
operation performed, I was at a loss how to begin, 
but having been informed that by the operator put- 



146 MESMERISM. 

ting his hands upon the subject's head, and breathing 
gently upon it, the sleep could be produced, my first 
attempt was made in that manner ; and, although not 
very satisfactory, still the effect was sufficient to in- 
duce me to persevere. 

For the first ten minutes there was no apparent 
change, but at the end of that time her eyelids began 
to close, her head fell gently back, and in five mi- 
nutes more she was asleep, which continued for about 
three or four minutes only, when she awoke of her- 
self. She felt, however, so very drowsy, that she 
was obliged to go to bed, where she slept for several 
hours, being the first refreshing sleep she had enjoyed 
since her nervous attack a few weeks before. 

My second attempt was made after an interval 
of a few days, and in the same manner I produced 
the same effects, only the sleep took place five mi- 
nutes sooner than before, and continued for upwards 
of ten minutes, when she awoke of herself, and feel- 
ing even more drowsy than formerly, went to bed, 
and slept for nearly a whole day. 

These attempts were made in the forenoon of each 
day , in the presence ofseveral friends. Previous to 
operating again, I saw my friend putting his brother 
to sleep, and was so much astonished at the effects 
produced, that I resolved to proceed with my sis- 
ter's case. In the third attempt, instead of put- 
ting my hands on her head, I sat in a chair before 
her, and holding her by the hands, gazed steadfastly 
in her face. I had not done so for more than three 
minutes, when her eyelids began to close, and she 
was sound asleep. Profiting by what I had seen, 
and desirous of ascertaining if she could hear through 
the usual organs, I spoke at the full pitch of my 
voice at her ear, but got no indication of hearing, 
and made such noises as must have awoke her had 
she heard them. I then tried if she could hear by 
speaking upon the hand, and after several attempts, 



CASES. 1 4? 

obtained a faint murmur — which indicated, at all 
events, that she heard through that medium. I next 
tried to produce the rigid state, and for that purpose 
made a few passes over one of her arms, but without 
touching it. Before I had made half a dozen passes, 
her arm became as rigid as stone. Leaving it in 
that state, I put the other one in the same con- 
dition, and then both legs, in which position she re- 
mained until released. 

The next time she was put asleep was by my 
friend on the evening of the day of the last experi- 
ment. He bandaged her eyes, and speaking to her 
upon the hand, after considerable perseverance, got 
her to answer distinctly the questions which he put. 
From this time she was regularly Mesmerised, at 
least once every day. 

"When put asleep, her eyes bandaged, and the room 
properly darkened, she could plainly see every object 
in it, described where each person was sitting, or if 
they changed their position. Being anxious to ascer- 
tain if she exhibited community of sensation with 
the operator, I took a saltcellar in my hand ; but no 
sooner had I touched the outside of it than she im- 
mediately shuddered, and complained bitterly of salt 
being put into her mouth. The same phenomena 
took place when sugar was put into my hand, or any 
other substance, of a strongly-marked taste. The 
general mode of producing these phenomena is by 
the operator putting the substance into his own 
mouth while holding the patient by the hands ; but 
so sensitive was she to impressions made through 
me, that whatever I took in my hand while standing 
in any part of the room, and not at all in contact 
with her, was immediately perceived. 

By this means, I made her imagine that she wa^ 
drinking water, &c, or tasting sugar, salt, bread, 
or any other substance. These experiments extended 
over a period of several weeks from the time of her 



148 MESMERISM. 

first sleep. Her health began rapidly to improve, 
her spirits revived, the nervous symptoms gradually 
abated, and she seemed to be enjoying a state of 
great comfort when compared with her former un- 
happy one. 

While under the Mesmeric influence, with her 
eyes bandaged, she has employed herself at needle- 
work for a considerable part of an afternoon, and 
has been astonished, when awakened, to find the 
work farther advanced than it was when she went 
to sleep, and at the same time more correctly than if 
it had been done in her waking state. One even- 
ing, while on a visit in a part of the town at a con- 
siderable distance from her own residence, she was 
Jaken so unwell, that her friends found it would be 
impossible for her to walk home. I Mesmerised her 
in the usual manner, and while asleep she walked 
home, and when awakened was much surprised 
to find herself in her own house. Metals have a 
very powerful effect wheD brought in contact with 
her ; for instance, she can be attracted through 
any part of the house by the operator holding a piece 
of gold near to her head, and if the head be slightly 
touched by it, a convulsive shudder is the conse- 
quence, with the expression of extreme pain. She 
always describes a bright yellow flash of light, and a 
feeling of great pain when so touched. Iron has a 
very disagreeable and similar effect as gold. She 
has correctly described the ailments with which any 
person ' may be afflicted who is brought in contact 
with her, and has told the cause and symptoms of 
the disease, and how it affected them. A gentleman, 
who had been absent from Glasgow for six months, 
happened to call upon me, and she being put asleep, 
he took hold of her hands, and asked as to his 
health. She answered, that he had injured it by 
living upon vegetable diet for some time previous ; 
also, that he had a pain under the right breast, caused 



CASES. 149 

by severe cold ; all of which was just as she described. 
A little boy, (also a Mesmeric patient,) who is in a 
very delicate state of health, and whom she had 
never seen before, was brought to her, and both 
were put asleep; when brought in contact, they 
clung to each other with the greatest avidity; in 
fact, it was found impossible to separate them with- 
out awakening the boy, and exciting her organs of 
cautiousness and conscientiousness. While clasped 
in each others arms, she seems to feel all his sensa- 
tions, and to enter into his mind, as she accurately 
described his disposition and habits, what food he 
was fondest of taking, and what agreed with him 
best. Every thing that she said in reference to this 
boy was corroborated by his mother and brothers, 
who were standing by at the time, and were asto- 
nished to hear it all so accurately described. 

I have latterly several times put her asleep with- 
out her knowledge or consent, by stealing behind 
her chair, while sewing, and making a few passes 
over the back of the head. Once or twice I have 
put her asleep by merely willing that it should take 
place, without expressing my will either by word or . 
action. Another powerful proof of the will over cer- n! 
tain individuals, while in the sleep, is the fact of any i 
person being able to cause her to come to them by 
silently willing it. This she will do while blindfolded ; 
and although a dozen persons be in the room she has 
invariably gone to the individual willing her, and 
describes, at such times, that she feels something ir- 
resistibly drawing her forward, and cannot stay back 
by any effort of her own. I can also awake her at 
any time by merely willing it, without any contact 
whatever. 

These are examples of the phenomena which have 
been exhibited in this case, and the patient continues 
in the enjoyment of good health. 



150 MESMERISM. 



AGNES G . 

The narrative of this case has been furnished by 
the gentleman who acted as the Mesmeriser on the 
occasion. 

" Happening recently to be spending a couple of 

days at the house of Sir , Baronet, in the county 

of , the subject of Mesmerism chanced to be- 
come the topic of conversation. Sir inquired 

if I had seen any thing of it. I mentioned I had 
seen a good deal in private, on which he expressed 
himself very anxious to witness a seance. I engaged 
to write to him when T could obtain one in Glasgow, 
but proposed, at the same time, that we might, in the 
meantime, try something ourselves. This excited 
some little surprise. In a few minutes I was seated 
in another room, with a very interesting young 

woman, Agnes G , an attendant of Mrs. , 

then on a visit to Sir , her father, the lady, at 

my request, accompanying us. I had been asked if 
I could show the connection between Mesmerism and 
Phrenology, and this, I said, I should attempt to do. 

" Within three minutes I succeeded in inducing 

the Mesmeric sleep, which Mrs. , sitting behind 

me to the one side, immediately perceived, and 
quietly rose. I signaled to her to let the party come 
in from the other room. On their entering I placed 
a finger on the top of the young woman's head, 
rather forward, viz. on the organ of 4 veneration/ 
She instantly raised her face, (her eyes being shut,) 
as if looking upward, and clasping her hands, sunk 
down on her knees in an attitude of prayer. She 
remained in this position for a minute or so, while I 
continued to hold my finger on the organ. On with- 
drawing it she let down her hands and head. She 



CASES. ! a 1 

was then reseated. I next applied a finger of one 
hand to the organ of ' tune/ on the one side of the 
forehead, and a finger of the other hand to the other 
side : she immediately commenced singing a com- 
monplace air, I think the ' Flowers of the Forest/ 
After a minute or two I touched the organs of ' tune' 
with the thumb and a finger of one hand. During 
the alteration she stopped singing for an instant; 
but resumed the air on my again touching the or- 
gans. I then applied the thumb and a finger of the 
other hand to the organs of ' mirthfulness/ situated 
above t tune,' on the external angles of the forehead. 
The instant I did so she ceased to sing the first air, 
and immediately commenced ' Ilory O'More.' After 
a minute or two spent in singing this air, I took off 
my hand from ' mirthfulness,' and on applying a 
finger of that hand to ' veneration' (the other hand 
all the while on \ tune') she instantly again made a 
pause for a second or two, and then commenced, 
and for a few minutes continued to sing one of the 
common psalm tunes. I then (without knowing any 
thing of the young woman's relations, one of whom, 
as I afterwards learned, a brother, a soldier in a Re- 
giment of the line, has been some years in India,) 
applied a finger of each hand to the organs of ' coin- 
bativeness.' She instantly sprang to the floor, and 
lifting her hands clenched, and placing herself in a 
rather masculine attitude, at same time raising her 
voice, said, ' Tom, my dear brother, I will fight 
along with you, Tom,' repeating these, and expres- 
sions of similar tendency, several times, always in- 
creasing in vehemence. At last, getting very pug- 
nacious, as a sort of climax to the whole, and strik- 
ing her right hand clenched on the palm of her left, 
she exclaimed, with great energy and devotedness, 
' I say, Tom, my dear brother Tom, I say I will 
fight for you, my dear brother/ laying a great em- 
phasis on the word 'for.' We felt rather astounded, 



1 52 MESMERISM. 

not to say alarmed, at her belligerent propensity, 
especially as the manifestations appeared to increase, 
notwithstanding that from her motions as a figurante 
it may easily be supposed I had it not in my power, 
had I wished it, to continue to hold my hand on the 
excited organ. With a view to allay the symptoms 
I then placed my hand over the top of the head ge- 
rally, viz. on the higher sentiments, embracing 
' hope,' ' veneration/ ' ideality,' and { love of justice/ 
when a scene ensued I shall never forget. The 
effect of this was instantly to excite feelings of the 
highest order connected with matters that I do not 
feel myself at liberty to commit to paper, but ex- 
ceedingly honourable to the heart and feelings of the 
young woman. She shed tears, and uttered a soliloquy 
in language classically beautiful, and with an intona- 
tion and pathos, and accompanied with a manner that 
would have done honour to many of the followers of 
the tragic muse. She was, however, so excited, that 
I conceived it necessary to restore her to her natural 
state, or, as the wits have it, to ' blow her out/ which 
was accomplished, not without a little difficulty, by 
gently rubbing her eyes and breathing on her fore- 
head. Not the least remarkable part of the whole 
scene was the change then produced. When she was 
put into the trance, she was sitting with only the 
lady mentioned and myself, — I had her hands in 
mine, crossed, and we were looking each other in the 
face. When she came out of the trance she found 
herself seated on a sofa, with several persons around 
her, some seated by her. She looked astonished, 
seeming to feel abashed, and from the pale, elevated, 
sublime, and dignified tragic figure, shrunk at once 
into the blushing unsophisticated coy girl. She 
crouched in a timid manner, and ran towards the 
door of the room, at the further corner, where a 
number of the servants of the house had collected to 
see her in the trance. But before reaching it she 



CASES. 153 

recovered her self-possession sufficiently to join in a 
hearty laugh with the other servants. 

" I may just add, that I had never seen nor heard 
of the young woman before that day, nor had I 
spoken to her previously to her sitting down to be 
Mesmerised. By some omission, she had been merely 
told that a gentleman at table was willing to ex- 
amine her phrenological developments, if she would 
submit to it, to which she agreed. But she declared 
to me afterwards that she had not so much as heard 
of Mesmerism. This accounted for a circumstance 
that appeared a little singular to me when it occurred. 
On taking her by the hands, and looking her in the 
eye, she burst out into a laugh, which caused me to 
tell her we had not sat down for that purpose, and 
at this remark she appeared to feel considerably. 
She mentioned that her father, who is dead, was a 
soldier, and that her mother is an Englishwoman ; 
this latter circumstance accounted in some measure 
for her style of speaking, which is very different 
from that of the working classes in Scotland. Upon 
the whole., it was a very interesting scene, and com- 
pletely confirmed some gentlemen present in the 
truth of both Phrenology and Mesmerism. One 

gentleman, well known in the county of , 

and advanced in years, gratuitously stated to me, 
that from what I had mentioned previously he looked 
upon me as- having been deluded, but now he frankly 
owned that he was a complete convert, and that any 
person seeing a similar exhibition must disbelieve his 

own senses if he did not accord his belief. Sir 

declared he had seen so much that he was perfectly 
satisfied, and required no farther proof." 



1.54 MESMERISM. 



WALTER B- 



In this case the patient is a boy of eleven years of 
age, delicate in constitution, and of a quiet inactive 
disposition. The Mesnieriser is a brother of the pa- 
tient, and was induced to try the experiments under 
the idea that the latter was likely to prove suscep- 
tible. 

On the first attempt being made, the operator 

seated himself in front of W. B , took hold of his 

hands, gazed steadfastly in his eyes, and wished ar- 
dently that he might be put asleep; in the course of 
ten minutes a nervous twittering was observable in 
the eyes, with a tendency to gaze upwards ; at the 
end of fifteen minutes the twittering had ceased, and 
the eyeballs were so much turned up that the pupil 
was scarcely visible, the eyelids began to close, and 
in two minutes more the patient was asleep. 

W.B 'shands were now pricked, but he betrayed 

not the slightest symptom of pain or uneasiness, al- 
though it was severe enough to draw blood. Pinch- 
ing and tickling were tried with the same result, no 
sensation or consciousness being perceptible, with the 
exception of a quiet smile upon the patient's lips. At 
this stage of the experiments, the door of the room in 
which the patient was seated, was shut violently, 
when he slowly opened his eyes, rubbed his eyebrows, 
and awoke. 

At the next Mesmerisation which occurred, about 

ten days after the first, W. B was put asleep in 

a much shorter period, not more than five minutes, 
and seemed to be in a much more profound repose 
than on the former occasion. He was found to be 
cataleptic ; his limbs remained for an indefinite length 
of time in whatever position they were placed ; and 



CASES. ] 55 

a few passes made down the leg from the body made 
it perfectly rigid. He was awakened when in the 
rigid state, and seemed not a little astonished at his 
inability to move either hand or foot ; a few more 
passes were made down the parts affected, when he 
returned to his wonted freedom of action. No at- 
tempt had yet been made to question the patient 
while asleep, but on being awakened he was interro- 
gated as to whether he recollected anything. His 
answer was, " I remember closing my eyes, but am 
entirely ignorant as to whether anything occurred 
during my sleep." 

On the next occasion on which W. B was put 

asleep, he spoke distinctly when questioned. Amongst 
other questions, he was asked, " Are you happy ?" 
he replied, " Yes, very happy." Being asked if he 
wished to be awakened, he answered quickly, " Oh, 
no." Again, how long did he think he would remain 
in the state he was if left alone ? he replied at once, 
and with great firmness, " Twenty -five minutes," 
and, strange to say, he awoke of his own accord at 
the time specified. It may be stated, that on this oc- 
casion the patient's eyes were securely bandaged, for 
the double purpose of shading his eyes from the light 
of which he complained as being painful, and also of 
testing his clairvoyant powers. After awakening 
as above stated, he was again thrown into the Mes- 
meric sleep, and on being questioned, replied, "lam 
sounder asleep than I have ever yet been." On being 
asked his name, he gave in answer one totally differ- 
ent from his actual one, and one which, when awake, 
he is not aware of ever having heard ; he answers at 
once to his assumed name, while to his ordinary one 
he is perfectly indifferent, and asserts that he knows 
no one of that name. 

During this and other occasions, many curious 
phenomena have been elucidated. It was found that 
whilst blindfolded, W. B could recognise and 



* 



156 MESMERISM. 

name every individual with whom he was acquainted, 
but to strangers he showed much dislike, and on be- 
ing touched by them slight convulsions were caused ; 
this result has also been produced by touching him 
with gold. It was found that he was insensible to 
pain produced on his own person, butjshowed remark- 
able sensibility to any pain, smell, or taste, felt by 
the operator. Music exerted a peculiar and power- 
ful charm on the patient ; if it chanced to be a slow 
and plaintive melody, he sat entranced, and seemed 
evidently annoyed at the slightest interruption or 
disturbance ; if the melody was changed, and a quick 
lively strain substituted, the patient's deportment 
changed likewise, the dreamy listlessness vanished, 
every feeling seemed to be awakened, and every nerve 
braced ; he kept time by beating with his foot, and if 
the music grew livelier and more exciting, he rose and 
rushed to it, seized upon the instrument, and actually 
produced harmony on that which, whilst awake, he 
could not even handle properly. While in the sleep, 
and with his eyes closely bandaged, he has frequently 
read pages of books with the utmost accuracy, and 
in a better style than he could do in his ordinary 
waking state. 

After having been Mesmerised several times, W. 

B was directed to gaze steadfastly at a fixed 

object, and endeavour to put himself asleep. In less 
than five minutes he was over, and presented the 
same appearance as when put asleep by his brother ; 
similar experiments were tried in this state, and found 
as successful as formerly. It was afterwards found, 

that, if previous to going to sleep, W. B fixed 

to awaken at a certain time, at the moment specified, 
without once failing he roused up. To test this ex- 
periment fairly, he was usually left to sleep without 
interruption. Awakening at a specified moment may 
not seem at first sight very surprising ; it must be 
borne in mind, however, that during the sleep the 



CASES. 157 

patient's eyes were securely bandaged, so that it was 
impossible he could judge of the lapse of time from 
any external influence. 

With W. B the will or volition of the opera- 
tor have a most powerful influence. It was agreed 
between the operator and a spectator, that on a sig- 
nal from the latter, the operator should go to a par- 
ticular part of the room, and wish the patient to come 
to him, but that ere he reached him, the wish was to 
be reversed, and the patient go back to his seat. The 

signal was given, and TV. B , after the lapse of 

a minute, rose slowly and proceeded in the direction 
of the operator; the wish was now reversed, when 
he turned back to his seat, seemingly much disap- 
pointed. Another instance may be cited of the effect 
of the will — the operator took hold of the patient's 
hand, and wished him to awaken, in less than a mi- 
nute he was wide awake. 

It is stated above, that rigidity of the limbs was 

produced the second time TV. B was set asleep ; 

it is now found that the limbs can be made rigid 
whilst he is in his ordinary state, and not only can 
they be made rigid by others, but he can himself by 
a few passes of the one hand make his other arm per- 
fectly rigid. His arm was pinched and pricked se- 
verely whilst in this state, without his knowledge, 
and consequently without pain. 



jaxet s- 



The following case is interesting, as showing the 
successful use of Mesmerism in mitigating suffering 
during the performance of an operation attended 
with some degree of pain. 

The patient is a girl about twenty years of a^e, 



158 MESMERISM. 

in good health. About ten days previous to the 
experiment about to be related, being made, she had 
scalded the upper part of her foot so severely, as to 
prevent her from walking, except with great pain. 
During the last day or two, she had suffered very 
acutely when the wound was dressed, which ren- 
dered it impracticable to get the scald so thoroughly 
cleansed as was necessary. It was suggested, that 
the case was one in which Mesmerism might be tried 
with advantage. 

The operator commenced by holding the patient's 
hands, and afterwards breathed on her forehead. 
Nearly 45 minutes elapsed before the patient was 
fairly asleep. On being spoken to in the sleep- 
waking state, into which she had at once gone, she 
replied quite distinctly ; said, she believed she was 
asleep ; that she was quite happy ; that her foot was 
not sore ; and that neither of them were scalded or 
burned. She was then asked if she could walk ; 
she answered, yes, rose, and walked steadily across 
the room, apparently without pain, or any unusual 
motion. 

The dressing of the foot was now determined on, 
and the patient was placed on a low chair, with her 
foot raised upon a stool. The operator endeavoured, 
by making a few passes, to throw her still deeper 
into the sleep, which seemed to have the effect, as 
she was, to all appearance, perfectly insensible to 
pain inflicted by pinching, pricking, &c. He also 
placed his hands on the patient's head, and breathed 
gently on the forehead. The bandages were then 
removed, and the raw unhealthy looking wound was 
washed with no very gentle hand, as the person so 
employed seemed to think it incumbent on her to 
make the patient flinch if possible. No such effect 
was produced however; the same placid look re- 
mained upon the features during the whole operation, 
and on its completion, the patient answered, that she 



CASES. 159 

had felt no pain, and that she knew of nothing 
having been done to her foot. She was now awak- 
ened, merely by the operators wish, and was per- 
fectly unconscious of having undergone the operation 
of dressing. So sceptical was she of it having been 
done, that nothing would satisfy her, but that the 
upper bandage should be taken off, that she might 
see whether or not the under bandage had been re- 
newed. On convincing herself of the truth of the 
statement, she exclaimed, " Oh ! but I am a happy 
woman !" 

The patient was Mesmerised regularly after this, 
previous to her foot being dressed, until it had got 
so much better that the pain was trifling. 



A MESMERISER MESMERISED. 

In this case, the individual attempted to be ope- 
rated upon was tall and powerful in person, and a 
disbeliever in Mesmerism. The Mesmeriser was the 
reverse. The tables, it will be seen, were turned, 
— the sceptic putting the Mesmeriser to sleep. The 
following statement was drawn up at the time by 
the gentleman, who thus became a Mesmeriser al- 
most in spite of himself. 

" Last night I submitted to be Mesmerised by a 
young gentleman. You know that I had no faith 
in Mesmerism, and was determined to put it to the 
test. With this feeling I sat down to be operated 
upon. We had not sat more than three minutes, 
when I saw the operator's countenance beginning to 
change; his eyes grew dim and glazed, and large 
drops of water rolled down his cheeks. He then 
asked me if I ' felt in any way affected.' I replied, 
that * I did not in the least.' He then said, ' I am 



160 MESMERISM. 

going.' In about a minute longer his eyeballs stood 
fast, his eyelids fell and became fixed, and he sat 
like a statue. I then rose, and said, This is revers- 
ing the order of things, — it was like the maniac put- 
ing his guide into an asylum. I fanned his face for 
a short time, and breathed heavily on his forehead. 
I then asked him how he felt; but he could not 
speak. I touched the organ of language, and asked 
him if he felt comfortable ; he said, Y-e-s, he felt 
very well. I put several other questions to him, to 
which he gave placid, witty, or vicious answers, 
according to the organ touched at the time. I got 
handed to me privately a teaspoon full of sugar, 
which I put into my mouth, and holding him by the 
hand, he then commenced to smack his lips, when I 
asked him what he had got into his mouth ; he said, 
Su-sugar. I next put a teaspoonful of salt into my 
mouth, when he shuddered convulsively, and seemed 
to be in great distress, so much so, that I became 
alarmed at his condition. Perspiration, however, 
broke on him. In one minute his head became as 
wet as if it had been dipt in water, and he then got 
quiet. I allowed him to sleep for some time, sooth- 
ing him by breathing heavily on his forehead, and 
touching the organ of benevolence. He became 
placid. Soon afterwards I took him out of the sleep, 
but he felt rather unwell for a short time. I felt 
happy, however, at seeing him once more on his feet, 
as the matter was new to me." 

We might have increased greatly our record of 
cases ; but the foregoing will afford a tolerably fair 
general idea of the manner in which Mesmerism has 
hitherto been applied in Scotland. We trust a short 
time only will elapse, until it has been made more 
universally useful as a curative agent. 



161 



CHAPTER VI. 



MESMERIC PROCESSES. 



Mesmer was in the practice of seating his patients 
around a kind of covered vessel filled with water, 
iron, glass, &c, denominated the baquet. The mag- 
netic virtue was supposed to be communicated to the 
patients by branches of iron from the baquet, by a 
cord which was passed around their bodies, and by 
the union of their fingers. The patients were, besides, 
magnetised directly by means of a finger, or a bar of 
iron, guided before the face, above or behind the 
head, and over the surface of the parts affected. 
They were also operated upon by touching, rubbing, 
and pressure with the hand. In this manner, what 
have been termed crises were brought on, which 
were supposed to operate beneficially in the ailments 
with which the patients were afflicted. 

The school of the Chevalier Barbarin admitted no 
other agents than faith and volition, and hence its 
followers obtained the designation of the Spiri- 
tualists. 

A third school was established under the direction 
of the Marquis de Puysegur, at Strasburg, under the 
name of the Societe Harmonique d#s amis reunis. 
The chambres de crise, Mr. Colquhoun informs us, 
" were entirely banished from this excellent institu- 
tion; and the whole magnetic treatment was con- 
ducted in a manner the best calculated to insure the 
repose and comfort of the patients. The manipula- 
tions, when employed, were extremely gentle ; and 
the hands, instead of being brought into contact with 

L 



] 62 MESMERISM. 

the patient, were frequently kept at some distance 
from him." 

Many of the writers on this subject insist strongly 
upon the necessity of Mesmerisers possessing a strong 
constitution, and upon their being in sound health 
at the time of operating, as otherwise very injurious 
consequences may result to the patient. 

The processes in use among Mesmerisers are ex- 
ceedingly various. It is not in every case consi- 
dered necessary to produce sleep, and the means 
employed are varied according to the effect sought to 
be obtained. The following methods are recom- 
mended by a writer in the Zoo-Magnetic Journal * 
as the most simple and the most effectual : — 

u Let the operator take hold of the hands of the 
patient, as if he were merely going to feel his 
pulses. At this stage he may look steadily in the 
patient's face, and put any questions he pleases to 
him relative to his complaints, the seat of pain, &c. 
After a minute or two, let him place one hand on 
the crown of the patient's head, and the other on his 
breast or stomach. Thereafter, let him place the 
palm of each hand upon the patient's shoulders, with 
the thumbs inclining into the armpits ; and having 
continued for a few seconds in this position, let him 
then draw the palms of his hands, with the fingers 
pointing rather inwards, along the arms of the patient 
gently downwards to the elbows, and from thence to 
the hands, which may be again held for a few seconds. 
The operator should then raise his hands upwards 
towards the head of the patient, the palms being car- 
ried outwards; then, with the palms resting upon 
the sides of the patient's head, a few passes may be 
made with the thumbs from the inner angles of the 
eyes down the sides of the nose; and the hands 
should afterwards be drawn downwards from the 

* No. I. April 1839. Edinburgh : Adam and Charles Black. 



MESMERIC PROCESSES. \G3 

shoulders along the whole body towards the feet of 
the patient. These passes may be repeated as often 
as the operator deems necessary ; afterwards the 
operation of fanning — a term easily understood — 
may be employed, especially if it be thought requi- 
site to produce sleep, which has not followed upon 
the previous manipulations. We must not omit to 
observe, however, that the effects of Animal Mag- 
netism have been frequently produced without em- 
ploying any such manipulations as those we have 
described above ; and that the mode of treatment 
must be regulated, in all cases, by the judgment of 
the operator, according to the degree of susceptibility 
manifested by the patient. 

" The passes may be performed either with or 
without contact. In the former case, the contact, 
in general, ought to be very slight. But the opera- 
tor must perform the whole business with earnestness, 
and with a serious desire of removing the morbid 
symptoms. The apartment ought to be kept as 
quiet as possible, so that neither the operator nor the 
patient may have his attention distracted during the 
treatment. 

* * * * * 

" Sleep is a very common effect of the magnetic 
manipulations, the first, indeed, by which the influ- 
ence of the agent is made apparent to ordinary 
observers. Somnambulism is much more rare. The 
higher states — including the phenomena of clairvoy- 
ance, or lucid vision — occur in comparatively few 
cases. It is a mistake, however, to imagine that 
the production of any of these states is absolutely and 
essentially necessary, in every instance, to the efficacy 
of Animal Magnetism as a remedial process. Hun- 
dreds of cases have been successfully treated without 
the production of sleep — thousands without the in- 
tervention of somnambulism." 

Deleuze, an eminent French Mesmeriser, enters 



164 MESMERISM. 

into very minute details on this subject in his 
" Practical Instruction in Animal Magnetism." * 
The following is an extract from his work : — 

" Cause your patient to sit down in the easiest 
position possible, and place yourself before him, on a 
seat a little more elevated, so that his knees may be 
between yours, and your feet by the side of his. 
Demand of him, in the first place, that he give him- 
self up entirely ; that he think of nothing ; that he 
do not trouble himself by examining the effects 
which he experiences ; that he banishes all fear, and 
indulge hope ; and that he be not disquieted or dis- 
couraged if the action of the Magnetism produces in 
him temporary pains. 

" After you have brought yourself to a state of 
self-collectedness, take his thumbs between your two 
fingers, so that the inside of your thumbs may touch 
the inside of his. Remain in this situation five 
minutes, or until you perceive there is an equal de- 
gree of heat • between your thumbs and his ; that 
being done, you will withdraw your hands, remov- 
ing them to the right and left, and waving them so 
that the interior surface be turned outwards, and 
raise them to his head ; then place them upon his 
shoulders, leaving them there about a minute ,* you 
will then draw them along the arm to the extremity 
of the fingers, touching lightly. You will repeat this 
pass five or six times, always turning your hands 
and sweeping them off a little before re-ascending ; 
you will then place your hands upon the head, hold 
them there a moment, and bring them down before 
the face, at the distance of one or two inches, as far 
as the pit of the stomach ; there you will let them 
remain about two minutes, passing the thumb along 
the pit of the stomach, and the other fingers down 



* " Practical Instruction in Animal Magnetism." By J. P. F- 
Deleuze. London. 1843. 



MESMERIC PROCESSES. 165 

the sides ; then descend slowly along the body as far 
as the knees, or farther, and, if you can conveniently, 
as far as the ends of the feet. You may repeat the 
same processes during the greater part of the sitting. 
You may sometimes draw nearer to the patient so as 
to place your hands behind his shoulders, descending 
slowly along the spine, thence to the hips, and along 
the thighs as far as the knees, or to the feet. After 
the first passes you may dispense with putting your 
hands upon the head, and make the succeeding passes 
along the arms, beginning at the shoulder ; or along 
the body commencing at the stomach. 

44 When you wish to put an end to the sitting take 
care to draw towards the extremity of the hands, 
and towards the extremity of the feet, prolonging 
your passes beyond these extremities, and shaking 
your fingers each time. Finally, make several passes 
transversely before the face, and also before the 
breast, at the distance of three or four inches ; these 
passes are made by presenting the two hands to- 
gether, and briskly drawing them from each other, 
as if to carry off" the superabundance of fluid with 
which the patient may be charged. You see that it 
is essential to magnetise, always descending from the 
head to the extremities, and never mounting from 
the extremities to the head. It is on this account 
that we turn the hands obliquely when they are 
raised again from the feet to the head. The descend- 
ing passes are magnetic ; that is, they are accom- 
panied with the intention of magnetising. The as- 
cending movements are not. Many magnetisers 
shake their fingers slightly after each pass. This 
method, which is never injurious, is, in certain cases, 
advantageous, and for this reason it is good to get 
the habit of doing it. 

" Although you may have, at the close of the sit- 
ting, taken care to spread the fluid over all the sur- 
face of the body, it is proper, in finishing, to make 



166 MESMERISM. 

several passes along the legs from the knees to the 
end of the feet. These passes free the head. To 
make them more conveniently, place yourself on 
your knees in front of the person whom you are 
magnetising. 

" I think it proper to distinguish the passes that 
are made without touching, from those which are 
made with the touch, not only with the ends of the 
fingers, but with all the extent of the hand, employ- 
ing, at the same time, a slight pressure. I give to 
these last the name of magnetic frictions. They are 
often made use of to act better upon the arms, the 
legs, and the back, along the vertebral column. 

" This manner of magnetising by longitudinal 
passes, directing the fluid from the head to the ex- 
tremities, without fixing upon any part in preference 
to others, is called magnetising by the long pass* 
(magnetiser a grands courans.) It is more or less 
proper in all cases, and it is requisite to employ it in 
the first sitting, when there is no special reason for 
using any other. The fluid is thus distributed into 
all the organs, and it accumulates naturally in those 
which have need of it. Beside the passes made at a 
short distance, others are made, just before finishing, 
at the distance of two or three feet. They generally 
produce a calm, refreshing, and pleasurable sensa- 
tion. 

" There is one more process by which it is very 
advantageous to terminate the sitting. It consists in 
placing oneself by the side of the patient, as he stands 
up, and, at the distance of a foot, making, with both 
hands, one before the body and the other behind, 
seven or eight passes, commencing above the head 
and descending to the floor, along which the hands 
are spread apart. This process frees the head, re- 
establishes the equilibrium, and imparts strength. 
***** 

"Sometimes it is necessary to magnetise at the 



MESMERIC PROCESSES. I (>? 

distance of several feet. Magnetism at a distance Lb 
more soothing, and some nervous persons cannot bear 
any other. 

" In making the passes, it is unnecessary to em - 
ploy any greater muscular force than what is re- 
quired to lift the hand and prevent it from falling. 
The movements should be easy, and not too rapid. 
A pass from the head to the feet may take about 
half a minute. The fingers ought to be a little sepa- 
rated from each other, and slightly bent, so that the 
ends of the fingers be directed towards the person 
magnetised." 

Dr. Caldwell, in his work entitled " Facts in 
Mesmerism, and Thoughts on its Causes and Uses" 
gives the following description of the mode of pro- 
ducing Mesmeric sleep. 

" Let the parties be seated close to each other, 
face to face, the Mesmeriser occupying the higher 
seat, and the Mesmerisee so accommodated as to sit 
at ease and in comfort, provision being made for the 
support of the head, in case sleep be induced. 

" Having requested the Mesmerisee to dismiss, as 
far as practicable, all agitating and impressive feel- 
ings, thoughts, and emotions, and be as tranquil as 
possible in mind as well as in body, the Mesmeriser 
gently grasps his hands, applying palm to palm 
and thumb to thumb, for the purpose of equalizing 
and identifying their temperature and condition. 

" Continuing this for about a minute, the Mes- 
meriser lets go his grasp, and, removing his hands, 
and raising them just above the head of the Mes- 
merisee, brings them gently down along each side of 
the head, very softly brushing it, and places them 
on his shoulders. Let the hands rest here about 
another minute ; the Mesmeriser all this time looking 
steadily and intensely in his subject's face, and forcibly 
willing that he shall fall asleep. The hands are then 
to be moved from the shoulders along the arms, with 



LOS MESMERISM. 

a very light pressure, until they reach the hands of 
the Mesmerisee, which are to be again grasped for 
four or five seconds, as before. 

t 6 - After a few repetitions of these movements, the 
operator may begin his more regular passes. These 
he makes by raising his hands near to the face or 
top of the head of his subject, and bringing them 
down with a gentle sweep along the neck and breast 
(touching those parts not being necessary,) to the 
ends of the subject's fingers, turning his palms out- 
wards, and widening the distance of his hands from 
each other as they descend. The ends of the opera- 
tor's fingers may be also advantageously applied at 
times to the pit of the patient's stomach, and held 
there for a short time. 

" In making their passes, some operators draw 
their hands not only along the whole extent of the 
upper extremities of the patient, but also down the 
lower extremities to the knees. This, however, I 
have not found necessary, perhaps not even useful, 
having been able to effect my purpose without it. 
The passes may be continued from twelve or fifteen 
to thirty minutes, according to circumstances. And 
during the subsequent experiments, while the patient 
is asleep, they may be occasionally renewed, to hold 
the sleep sufficiently profound. 

" Such is the usual form of the Mesmeric process, 
the operator continuing to will during the whole 
time of it, the production of the phenomena at which 
he aims. Under the hands of some Mesmerisers 
the process is much simpler, the foregoing being of 
a formal and rather complex kind." 

The Rev. La Roy Sunderland, another American 
writer, gives various directions in his journal, entitled 
The Magnet. He says, — 

" The following methods will be found equally 
successful, and far better than the old process of 
staring persons in the face. 



MESMERIC PROCESSES. 169 

" The attempt should not be made under circum- 
stances when you or your patient will be liable to 
be interrupted or disturbed. Every thing should be 
adjusted beforehand, so that you may be perfectly 
quiet during the sitting, that nothing may occur in 
any way to attract the attention of the subject. 

" 1. Let the patient be comfortably seated, and di- 
rected to fix his mind on the certainty of the antici- 
pated results of the experiment. His head should 
be reclined in an easy position, so that the eyes may 
be considerably elevated, and kept immoveable/ fixed 
upon one spot for thirty minutes or more. While 
he is sitting in this position the operator may, if he 
wishes, hold one of his hands while standing or sit- 
ting by his side ; or he may give the patient a piece 
of steel, or any other substance not disagreeable to 
him, to hold in his hand. The more firmly he keeps 
his eyes elevated and fixed in one position, and the 
greater the certainty with which he anticipates the 
sleep or the cure to be effected, the better. 

" When sleep ensues, the operator should pass his 
hands gently from the top of the head down the sides 
of the face, over the arms and hands, and especially 
over any part that is affected with disease, as directed 
below. 

4w 2. Another method. "When the patient is seated 
as above described, and where he may recline his 
head if he wishes to do so, the operator may stand 
by his side, and place one hand over the whole of 
the frontal region, and the other directly over the 
front and top part of the head. Or thus, — stand 
directly behind the patient, and put one of your 
fingers of each hand on the space of the head, directly 
back of the centre of the organ marked by Gall as 
caution, or you may cover these two points with 
the thumb and finger of one hand, and with the other 
hand press upon the whole of the forehead, or place 
one finger over the space between individuality and 



170 MESMERISM. 

eventuality. If the subject be susceptible, this pro- 
cess scarcely ever fails of producing sleep. And 
when you perceive he is quite composed, and more 
or less subdued, you may raise your hands and carry 
them from his, outward in a circle, to the top of the 
head, and, with the fingers gently extended, pass 
your hands slowly down the sides of the face, over 
the shoulders, and down the arms, over the inside 
of the hands, and then carry them off from him in 
a circle, outwards, up to the head again. 

" If your subject should become convulsed, do not 
be alarmed ; keep calm, and indulge no unkind or 
impure feeling, if you would not involve yourself and 
him in difficulty. 

" To wake your patient up, place one hand directly 
over the back part of the head, covering from the or- 
gans of philoprogenitiveness down over the cerebel- 
lum, and then place your two fingers of the other 
hand directly on the organs appropriated to causa- 
lity ; or pass your hands quickly up and over the 
frontal region, as if you wished to brush away some- 
thing collected there. And to relieve the arms when 
affected by this process, the operator should pass his 
hand quickly upward over them. 

" But it often happens that persons succeed in 
putting others to sleep, and they find it impossible to 
wake them again. What shall be done in such cases ? 
Answer — learn to be more careful how you meddle 
with an agency of which you know so little. We 
have known serious results to follow the operations 
of persons when the motive has been mere curiosity. 

" But in cases of difficulty do not be alarmed; 
let the patient alone. If left entirely to himself, the 
influence will in time disappear. 

" 3. We usually commence, when operating for 
any local disease, in the way above stated, and after- 
wards apply the hand to the diseased part, or to the 
corresponding sympathetic organs. For relieving 



MESMERIC PROCESSES. 171 

headach, when the pain seems to be located in the 
frontal region, let the patient lean his head back, so 
as to rest it firmly in your hand, your hand being suf- 
ficiently low to cover the cerebellum. With your 
other hand, make the passes down and over the fore- 
head and temples. If the pain is located in the back 
part of the head, cover with your hand the front part, 
and make the passes over the occipital region. 

" To relieve the toothach pass your hand gently 
over the face and the part affected. 

" These operations must, of course, be continued 
from ten minutes to half an hour, or longer, and re- 
peated from time to time as the case may require. 

" Bear in mind, that all persons are not alike sus- 
ceptible; and the same directions for the relief of one 
may not always apply to the case of another afflicted 
in the same way. The great law of sympathy is 
the same in all, but it is not alike accessible to. 
all." 

The Rev. Mr. Townshend gives no formal direc- 
tions for producing the Mesmeric sleep, but we should 
infer that the method he employs is much less com- 
plicated than some others. In the Appendix to 
Facts in Mesmerism, the celebrated Professor Agas- 
sis gives a description of the sensations which he felt 
on being Mesmerised, and we gather from it the mode 
of proceeding adopted by Mr. Townshend. 

Professor Agassis says : — " About ten Mr. Towns- 
hend commenced operating on me. While we sat 
opposite to one another, he, in the first place, only 
took hold of my hands and looked at me fixedly. I 
was firmly resolved to arrive at a knowledge of the 
truth, whatever it might be ; and therefore the mo- 
ment I saw him endeavouring to exert an action upon 
me, I silently addressed the Author of all things, be- 
seeching him to give me power to resist the influence, 
and to be conscientious in regard to myself as well as 
in regard to the facts. * * * * .* After at 



172 MESMERISM. 

least a quarter of an hour, I felt a sensation of a cur- 
rent through all my limbs, and from that moment my 
eyelids grew heavy. I then saw Mr. Townshend 
extend his hands before my eyes, as if he were about 
to plunge his fingers into them ; and then make dif- 
ferent circular movements around my eyes, which 
caused my eyelids to become still heavier. I had the 
idea that he was endeavouring to make me close my 
eyes ; and yet it was not as if some one had threa- 
tened my eyes, and in the waking state, I had closed 
them to prevent him ; it was an irresistible heaviness 
of the lids which compelled me to shut them ; and by 
degrees I found that I had no longer the power of keep- 
ing them open, but did not the less retain my consci- 
ousness of what was going on around me ; so that I 
heard M. Desor speak to Mr. Townshend, understood 
what they said, and heard what questions they asked 
me, just as if I had been awake, but I had not the 
power of answering. * * * * Mr. Townshend 
then repeated some frictions, which increased my 
sleep ; yet I was always conscious of what was pass- 
ing around me. He then asked me if I wished to 
become lucid, at the same time continuing, as I felt, 
the frictions from the face to the arms. I then ex- 
perienced an indescribable sensation of delight, and 
for an instant saw before me rays of dazzling light, 
which instantly disappeared. * * * Mr. Towns- 
hend then woke me with some rapid transverse move- 
ments from the middle of the face outwards, which 
instantly caused my eyes to open, and at the same 
time I got up, saying to him, ' I thank you.' It was 
a quarter past eleven. He then told me, and M. 
Desor repeated the same thing, that the only fact 
which had satisfied them that I was in a state of 
Mesmeric sleep, was the facility with which my head 
followed all the movements of his hand, although he 
did not touch me, and the pleasure which I appeared 
to feel at the moment when after several repetitions 



MESMERIC PROCESSES. 1?3 

of friction, he thus moved my head at pleasure in all 
directions. " 

The above description is doubly interesting, as 
coming from one who occupies so high a position in 
the scientific world as M. Agassis. 

A method of Mesmerising a number of individuals 
at the same time is thus described by Mr. Towns- 
hend. 

" I have sometimes formed what may be called a 
Mesmeric pile, by seating five or six persons together 
in a line, or half circle, holding each other's hands : 
I have then Mesmerised the first in the rank, who 
has passed on the influence to the second, who has 
again transmitted it to the third, and so on, by each 
pressing the hand held by each, at regular periods of 
time. Under this treatment I have invariably found 
that the Mesmeric influence was most powerfully de- 
monstrated in the person who was farthest from my- 
self ; that is, in the person who received the original 
impulse through the greatest number of intervening 
transmitters. The shades of gradation were also in 
these experiments justly preserved ; the first person 
scarcely experiencing any sensation, the second feel- 
ing a more decided influence, and so on in progres- 
sion, till the last was thrown into the complete Mes- 
meric state." 

Sir G. S. Mackenzie has published in the Phreno- 
hgical Journal* an account of the method of Mes- 
merising, practised by Mr. Gardiner of Roche Court, 
who, Sir George states, was the first to observe the 
extraordinary effects of exciting the organs of the 
mental faculties of patients in the magnetic trance. 
The directions given to Mesmerisers by Mr. Gardi- 
ner, are the following : — 

"Dismiss all preconceptions from your mind; 
check the tendency we all of us have to prejudge 

* Edinburgh : Maclach^n, Stewart & Co. 



174 MESMERISM. 

and pre-theorise ; banish all hypothesis, and advance 
to your subject as an experimentalist. Say nothing 
to any body ; select for your trials a person of rather 
a sedate character, and not too young. Shut your- 
self and the patient into a quiet room, with no spec- 
tators, and let him or her sit in an easy posture, 
with support for the head. Dismiss from your 
thoughts all idea of the necessity of mode or fashion, 
or particular passes. Concentrate your faculties, 
and be not distracted by any thing. Let your voli- 
tion be earnest, and first try the power of your eye, 
aided, if you like, by taking the hand. Let the pa- 
tient look at you, and do you steadily regard him or 
her visually and mentally with a fixed and deter- 
mined and definite purpose, and it is more than pro- 
bable, that, ere the lapse of many minutes, you will 
feel and see the establishment of your power. If 
not, try the points of your fingers directed to the 
eyes, putting them as close as possible, without 
touching the lashes or the hair. Should no effect 
ensue in half an hour, I would advise you to desist, 
and try another patient. If effects be produced 
within that time, go on until you see that they do 
not increase, and then demagnetise by transverse 
passes, and blowing on the face and head upwards 
from the neck, or other means, and try the same pa- 
tient again the succeeding day, and go on till you 
produce all the higher phenomena. This is what I 
recommend, for no magnetiser ought to dogmatise. 
No two cases are alike, and some patients are readily 
affected by one process and not by any other, while 
some will yield almost instantaneously to a certain 
magnetiser, who have withstood the efforts of many 
others, although the same process be used by them 
all. If you wish specially to entrance or influence 
a particular person, place him or her at the extre- 
mity of a chain of persons holding each other by the 
hand, and do you proceed to magnetise the person at 



MESMERIC PROCESSES. 175 

the other extremity of the chain. Tough must that 
person be who can withstand this. The greater the 
number of persons forming the chain the better." 

Mr. Braid's mode of hypnotising, to use his own 
term, is thus described by him in Neurypnology : 

" Take any bright object (I generally use my 
lancet case) between the thumb and fore and middle 
fingers of the left hand ; hold it from about eight to 
fifteen inches from the eyes, at such position above 
the forehead as may be necessary to produce the 
greatest possible strain upon the eyes and eyelids, 
and enable the patient to maintain a steady fixed 
stare at the object.* The patient must be made to 
understand that he is to keep the eyes steadily fixed 
on the object, and the mind rivetted on the idea of 
that one object. It will be observed, that, owing to 
the consensual adjustment of the eyes, the pupils will 
be at first contracted ; they will shortly begin to 
dilate, aad after they have done so to a considerable 
extent, and have assumed a wavy motion, if the fore 
and middle fingers of the right hand, extended and 
a little separated, are carried from the object towards 
the eyes, most probably the eyelids will close invo- 
luntarily, with a vibratory motion. If this is not the 
case, or the patient allows the eye-balls to move, 
desire him to begin anew, giving him to understand 
that he is to allow the eyelids to close when the fin- 
gers are again carried towards the eyes, but that the 

* Mr. Braid states, in a note, that at an early period of his in- 
vestigations, he caused the patients to look at a cork bound on 
the forehead. This, he says, was a very efficient plan with those 
who had the power of converging the eyes so as to keep them both 
steadily directed on the object, but he soon found that many could 
not do so. We are reminded, by Mr. Braid's method of proceed- 
ing, of a passage in Mr. Douglas of Cavers' Errors regarding Re- 
ligion. In his chapter on Mysticism, Mr. Douglas says, — " The 
Hindoo sage, by meditating on the identity of all things with the 
Self-existent, and by performing the no less earnestly enjoined 
duties of stopping his breathing, and fixing his intent gaze upon the 
tip of his nose, is freed from all the evils of finite existence, and 
absorbed into the Divine essence." 



] 76 MESMERISM. 

eye-balls must be kept fixed in the same position, 
and the mind rivetted to the one idea of the object 
held above the eyes. It will generally be found, that 
the eyelids close with a vibratory motion, or become 
spasmodically closed. After ten or fifteen seconds 
have elapsed, by gently elevating the arms and legs, 
it will be found that the patient has a disposition to 
retain them in the situation in which they have been 
placed, if he is intensely affected. If this is not the 
case, in a soft tone of voice desire him to retain the 
limbs in the extended position, and thus the pulse 
will speedily become greatly accelerated, and the 
limbs, in process of time, will become quite rigid and 
involuntarily fixed. It will also be found, that all 
the organs of special sense, excepting sight, including 
heat and cold, and muscular motion or resistance, 
and certain mental faculties, are at first prodigiously 
exalted, such as happens with regard to the primary 
effects of opium, wine, and spirits. After a certain 
point, however, this exaltation of function is followed 
by a state of depression far greater than the torpor 
of natural sleep.* From the state of the most pro- 
found torpor of the organs of special sense and tonic 
rigidity of the muscles, they may, at this state, in- 

* I wish to direct especial attention to this circumstance, as, 
from overlooking the fact of the first stage of this artificial hyp- 
notism heing one of excitement, with the possession of consciousness 
and docility, many imagine they are not affected, whilst the acce- 
leration of pulse, peculiar expression of countenance, and other 
characteristic symptoms, prove the existence of the condition, 
beyond the possibility of a doubt, to alt who understand the subject. 
I consider it very imprudent to carry it to the ulterior stage, or 
that of torpor, at'a^r^ trial. Moreover, there is great difference 
in the susceptibility to the Neurohypnotic impression, some ar- 
riving at the state of rigidity and insensibility in a few minutes, 
whilst others may readily pass into the primary stage, but can 
scarcely be brought into 'the ulterior, or rigid and torpid state. 
It is also most important to note, that many instances of remark- 
able and permanent cures have occurred, where it has never 
been carried beyond the state of consciousness. — Note at p. 20 of 
Neurypnology. 



MESMERIC PROCESSES. IT? 

stantly be restored to the opposite condition of ex- 
treme mobility and exalted sensibility, by directing 
a current of air against the organ or organs we wish 
to excite to action, or the muscles we wish to render 
limber, and which had been in the cataleptiform 
state. By mere repose, the senses will speedily 
merge into the original condition again. 

" At first I required the patients to look at an 
object until the eyelids closed of themselves, involun- 
tarily. I found, however, that in many cases this 
was followed by pain in the globes of the eyes, and 
slight inflammation of the conjunctival membrane. 
In order to avoid this, I now close the eyelids, when 
the impression on the pupil, already referred to, has 
taken place. * * * 

" As the experiment succeeds with the blind, I 
consider it not so much the optic, as the sentient, 
motor, and sympathetic nerves, and the mind, through 
which the impression is made. 

" A patient may be hypnotised by keeping the 
eyes fixed in any direction. It occurs most slowly 
and feebly when the eyes are directed straight for- 
ward, and most rapidly and intensely when they can 
be maintained in the position of a double internal 
and upward squint." 

Mr. Braid thus describes his manner of awakening 
his patients, and the caution which he adds should 
not be overlooked : — 

" Whenever I observe the breathing very much 
oppressed, the face gently flushed, the rigidity exces- 
sive, or the action of the heart very quick and tumul- 
tuous, I instantly arouse the patient, which I have 
always readily and speedily succeeded in doing by a 
clap of the hands, or abrupt shock on the arm or leg, 
by striking them sharply with the flat hand, — pres- 
sure and friction over the eyelids, and by a current 

M 



178 MESMERISM. 

of air wafted against the face. I have never failed 
by these means to restore my patients very speedily. 

" I feel convinced hypnotism is not only a valu- 
able, but also a perfectly safe remedy for many com- 
plaints, if judiciously used ; still it ought not to be 
trifled with by ignorant persons for the mere sake of 
gratifying idle curiosity. In all cases of apoplectic 
tendency, or where there is aneurism, or serious 
organic disease of the heart, it ought not to be re- 
sorted to, excepting with the precaution, that it may 
be in the mode calculated to depress the force and 
frequency of the heart's action." 

Dr. Elliotson s method of producing the Mesmeric 
sleep is exceedingly simple, being usually accom- 
plished by simply pointing two fingers to the eyes 
of the patient. He is opposed to the opinion, 
that the will of the operator has any effect in putting 
the patient to sleep. In a recent communication 
with which we were favoured, in reply to questions 
regarding the probability of injury to the health of a 
patient, from being too frequently Mesmerised, Dr. 
Elliotson says, — " When mere sleep is produced, I 
have never seen harm from the most frequent Mes- 
merising ; but when there is any activity in the sleep, 
the process may easily be repeated often enough to 
cause mischievous excitement. Flushing, headach, 
giddiness, and even a little delirium, may result. 
Whenever any of these threaten, the process should 
be slackened, whatever the benefit that has re- 
sulted." 

It is unnecessary to enter into farther details 
regarding the various processes adopted by different 
Mesmerisers. Those which have simplicity and an 
absence of mystery to recommend them, will, we are 
certain, meet with the highest degree of approval in 
Britain. 

It has been a common error to suppose that Mes- 



MESMERIC PROCESSES. 179 

merism is only operative upon those who are feeble 
in body. Let us listen to what Mr. Townshend says 
on this point, — 

" Mesmerism is one of nature's great resources in 
the cure of maladies ; and it is not, therefore, won- 
derful, if some of its most striking effects should 
have been developed rather in the ailing and the 
delicate, than in the healthy and robust. Hence the 
world, always ready to build up error on truth, has 
connected it, in idea, with weakness of mind, as well 
as of body, and has classed it amongst those idle 
imaginings which beset the fanciful invalid. But 
what is the fact ? Mesmerism does, indeed, act 
more peculiarly on the nervous system, and, on that 
account, affects, in an especial manner, persons whose 
nervous system is finely organized. But we must 
not confound sensitiveness with imbecility. The 
universal temperament of genius gives the lie to such 
an error ; and it would be plainly ridiculous to say, 
that the timid and susceptible author of an elegy in 
a country churchyard, or Rousseau, or Pascal, who 
were both nervous, even to hypochondriacism, were 
weak in intellect, because they were strong in sensi- 
bility. Besides, before we identify Mesmerism with 
weakness of any kind, it should be shown, that none 
but the feeble are susceptible of its influence. Now, 
as far as my experience goes, I can affirm, that not 
only does a certain degree of intelligence appear 
requisite for the favourable manifestation of the Mes- 
meric phenomena, but that persons in perfect health 
have frequently exhibited them. It may also be 
asserted, that fear and nervous agitation are wholly 
incompatible with their genuine development. These 
may, indeed, accompany a spurious sort of Mesmeric 
affection, but are wholly distinct from the powers 
with which they co-exist, and to which they are 
invariably hurtful. They are the corruptions of the 
true faith, and not the faith itself. In fine, sensibi- 



180 MESMERISM. 

lity, and not weakness, is the real condition on 
which Mesmerism depends." 

In the space of less than two years, Mr. Town- 
shend succeeded in inducing the Mesmeric sleep in 
twenty-three individuals, and in eight instances he 
failed. Of the twenty-three, six only were women, 
and one only a decided invalid. They were, more- 
over, not cases selected by Mr. Townshend as likely 
subjects for Mesmerism, but came to him acciden- 
tally. 

Dr. Caldwell gives it as his opinion, that a large 
majority of mankind are susceptible of the Mesmeric 
influence, the proportion, so far as his experience 
goes, being similar to that of Mr. Townshend. One 
able Mesmeriser had assured him, that he had suc- 
ceeded in fourteen, out of fifteen trials. 

Mr. Braid states, that at one of his public lectures 
in Manchester, fourteen male adults, in good health, 
all strangers to him, stood up at once, and ten of 
them were successfully operated upon. At Roch- 
dale he succeeded with twenty strangers in one 
night. At a private conversazione to the medical 
profession in London, on the 1st of March 1842, 
eighteen adults, most of them strangers to him, sat 
down at once, and in ten minutes sixteen of them 
were decidedly hypnotised. On another occasion, 
Mr. Braid took thirty-two children into a room, 
none of whom had either seen or heard of hypnotism 
or Mesmerism : in ten or twelve minutes the whole 
thirty-two were hypnotised, and maintained their 
arms extended. 

These facts are sufficient to show, that a large 
majority of the human race are susceptible of this 
influence, whatever its nature may be ; and if, as we 
have reason to believe, human suffering may, through 
its instrumentality, be materially alleviated, we have 
abundant reason to thank the men who, defying per- 
secution, have stood nobly forward in support of the 



MESMERIC PROCESSES. 181 

truth. We would, at the same time, join with pre* 
ceding writers in deprecating the practice of Mes- 
merism by the ignorant or the unwary. But for the 
supercilious and unpardonable neglect of the medical 
faculty, its administration would, long ago, have been 
entrusted entirely to their hands as an important branch 
of the healing art ; and they will yet be compelled to 
adopt that, at which the vast majority of them have 
hitherto sneered. The people have already obtained 
more knowledge on the subject than is possessed by 
the members of a profession, which is, by courtesy, 
denominated learned ; and popular Mesmerism, or 
Hypnotism, or whatever other name may ultimately 
be adopted, — names being an affair of comparatively 
little consequence, — will, ere long, put the wisdom 
of the medical faculty to the blush. 



182 



CHAPTER VII. 



PHRENO -MESMERISM . 



Phreno-Mesmerism, or phreno-magnetism, or, 
adopting Mr. Braid's language, phreno-hypnotism, 
was, we believe, discovered nearly about the same 
time in the United States of America and in England. 
The Rev. La Roy Sunderland is understood to have 
been the individual who first, on the other side of 
the Atlantic, proclaimed the banns of the union 
between Mesmerism and Phrenology. In this coun- 
try, the able and ingenious Mr. Spencer Hall of 
Sheffield, while he states, that he applied magnetism 
as a test of phrenological truth before seeing the 
account of Mr. Sunderland's discoveries, yet ex- 
presses his obligations to that gentleman for informa- 
tion as to the existence of certain organs, beyond 
those laid down in the ordinary busts and charts. 
Dr. Engledue states, in his address delivered to the 
Phrenological Association in London, on the 20th 
of June 1842, — * 

" The discovery of the magnetic excitation of 
cerebration, as far as I am aware, was made in this 
country by my two friends, Messrs. Mansfield and 
Gardiner. These two gentlemen communicated their 
experiments to me, and I immediately attempted to 
excite the cerebral organs of one of my patients, 
who had been regularly magnetised by me for some 
time, for the cure of disease. Exactly the same 
results were obtained. 

" On the 7th October 1841, Mr. Gardiner, during 

* London : H. Bailliere. 1842. 



PHRENO-MESMERISM. 183 

the magnetic trance of his patient, played a few 
notes on a small musical instrument ; the patient 
kept time by a lateral motion of the head. He then 
sounded the instrument, without attending to har- 
mony ; the patient shuddered, and appeared to be 
distressed. He interrogated her as to the cause of 
this distress ; she replied she was in pain ; and when 
asked where, she placed a finger of each hand on the 
organ of tune, on the same side. I shall not soon 
forget the enthusiasm of my friend when he com- 
municated this result to me. An apple falling from 
a tree suggested to Newton the laws by which count- 
less worlds hold their unvarying course ; and the 
muscular distortion of a human countenance suggested 
thoughts which will assist in unfolding the greatest 
problem in cerebral physiology. After this expe- 
riment, Mr. Mansfield returned to Cambridge, where 
he became acquainted with a gentleman, eighteen 
years of age, exceedingly susceptible of the magnetic 
influence. The first intimation he had of the fact that 
the magnetiser could excite a cerebral organ was on 
the 18th of December, 1841. This patient mani- 
fested impaired sense of time. He said, for instance, 
that he had been in a room half an hour when he 
had been in the room more than two hours, and, on 
another occasion, two hours and a half. He would 
refer to events that had taken place more than half 
an hour before, as if a few minutes only had elapsed. 
Mr. Mansfield breathed on the organ of time, and 
then asked his patient the same question, when he 
named the exact period. 

" On another occasion he was eating his dinner, 
and became exceedingly facetious, his conversation 
flowing in a strain of ludicrousness absolutely irre- 
sistible. Mr. M. touched the organ of wit, with the 
intention of arresting his flow of humour ; instantly 
his countenance assumed a grave appearance, and 
though his conversation continued, the humorous vi- 



1S4< MESMERISM. 

vacity and drollery entirely disappeared. After a 
few minutes Mr. M. blew upon the organ, and im- 
mediately the comic strain was again indulged in. 
The organ of alinientiveness was paralysed in the 
same manner, and again excited; also the organ 
of firmness. On the 25th of December, Mr. 
M. accompanied Mr. Gardiner on a visit to 
his patient. This was the first opportunity, Mr. 
Gardiner had been enabled to commence his expe- 
riments, and to enter into details, and I am only 
stating what I know to be true, when I assert that 
it is owing to his great exertions, his untiring pa- 
tience, his ceaseless enthusiasm, and his constant 
anxiety to promulgate truth, that I am enabled to 
detail to you the leading facts of this extraordinary 
discovery." 

Dr. Engledue then proceeds to detail the particu- 
lars of the case of a young lady, which had occurred 
in his own practice, and as it was one of the earliest 
in which these manifestations were produced, it may 
be interesting to extract it in this place. 

" The case which I am about to relate is that 
of a young lady, sixteen years of age, who had been 
confined to her bed eighteen months. She was mag- 
netised for some time, and, during the trance, mani- 
fested a number of extraordinary phenomena ; but I 
shall confine my relation to the experiments on cere- 
bration. 

" The patient having been placed in the trance, 
was allowed to remain quiet for a short time. I 
then simply applied my finger to the organ to be ex- 
cited, and willed that it should become so. The ex- 
citation, in the majority of cases, was instantaneous. 

u Thus, the finger applied to imitation produced 
the most splendid mimicry it is possible to conceive. 
The words and gestures of friends were copied in 
the most exact manner. Anecdotes which had been 
forgotten by all the members of the family were re- 



PHRENO-MESMERISM. 185 

peated in a way that brought the circumstances in- 
stantaneously to their recollection, notwithstanding 
many years had elapsed. On one occasion, the ma- 
nifestation of the faculty was permitted to continue 
for half an hour, and was then stopped by a wave 
of the hand over the organ, without contact. The 
finger on wit produced immoderate laughter, checked 
by a wave of the hand, and reproduced by a touch 
of the finger. The finger on colour caused the pa- 
tient to see a variety of colours, which, she said, were 
coloured worsteds. The finger on size caused her to 
say she saw ' heaps of skeins.' When asked the 
supposed weight of the quantity she replied she did 
not know. The finger on the organ of weight caused 
her immediately to exclaim ' hundreds of pounds/ 

" Self-esteem, firmness, veneration, benevolence, 
philoprogenitiveness, caution, &c. &c, were all ex- 
cited with corresponding results. The natural lan- 
guage of each faculty was most beautiful, and the 
patient, in the natural state, could not manifest the 
function in any similar degree. 

u The organs remained active even after the pa- 
tient had resumed her natural state. This was so 
marked, that the attendants have frequently re- 
quested me not to demagnetise the organ of benevo- 
lence, because, when this was allowed to continue 
active, she was so much more kind and affectionate. " 

Dr. Engledue added, that Mr. Atkinson, Mr. 
Brookes, Mr. Prideaux, Captain Valiant, and Dr. 
Elliotson, had all performed experiments, and ob- 
tained similar results. 

The lectures of Mr. Spencer Hall contributed ma- 
terially to attract public attention to the subject, and 
the same gentleman, early in 1 843, estabtished a pe- 
riodical,* for the purpose of recording the facts con- 
nected with it. 

* The Phreno- Magnet. Edited by Spencer T. Hall. Lon- 
don : R. Tyas. 



186 MESMERISM. 

At the meeting of the Phrenological Association in 
1 842, Dr. Elliotson seemed to think that the evidence 
fell short of proving the trnth of Mesmeric Phreno- 
logy ; but in a letter dated the 1st of September 1 842, 
addressed to Dr. Engledue, and appended to that 
gentleman's address, he states that his conviction of 
the possibility of Mesmerising distinct cerebral organs 
is complete. He then proceeds to give the following 
account of two of his patients. 

" I have had for some months under my care, for 
dreadful fits of many years standing, which are yield- 
ing satisfactorily to Mesmerism, two charming youth- 
ful patients, of excellent cerebral development, and 
carefully brought up, of high intelligence, and of high 
moral character — beautifully illustrating the power of 
good training upon a well developed brain. No 
poet or moralist could desire finer specimens of all 
that is delightful in the youthful mind. They have 
not known each other. They both exhibit exquisite 
Mesmeric phenomena. Are thrown into a profound 
coma, which no impression on the senses will dispel, 
and which soon becomes sleep-waking; their limbs 
may then be stiffened at pleasure, and endowed with 
enormous force, which, although not yielding to me- 
chanical -violence, gives way to contact, or to the 
breath, or to movements of the operator's hand, with- 
out contact, in the direction opposite to that of the 
limb's position ; the various muscles of the face may 
be made to twitch as if with electricity, and the eyes 
be opened, or the body be drawn by movements of 
the fingers and hands held at a short distance ; the 
position of each finger of the operator's hand will be 
minutely imitated, though the eyes be closed, and the 
experiment be made out of the patient's sphere of 
vision. Though showing all the signs of sleep in the 
breathing, the falling of the head, the aspect, and the 
exquisite positions, they may be roused to talk, but 
never recognise the person nor the place. Their 



PHRENO-MESMERISM. 187 

dream, if so it may be called, is perfectly rational ; 
but the real place, and person addressing, and even 
the time, are invariably fancied otherwise than is the 
fact. 

" I know to a certainty that both are totally igno- 
rant of phrenology. Without any previous inten- 
tion, I one day tried to Mesmerise some of the cere- 
bral organs in the young lady. On placing the point 
of a finger on the right organ of attachment, she 
strongly squeezed my fingers of the other hand, 
placed in her right hand, and fancied I was her fa- 
vourite sister ; on removing it to the organ of self- 
esteem, she let go my fingers which were in her right 
hand, repelled my hand, mistook me for a person she 
disliked, and talked in the haughtiest manner. On 
replacing the point of my finger on attachment, she 
squeezed my fingers of the other hand again, and 
spoke affectionately. I removed the point of my 
finger to destructiveness, and she let go my fingers 
again, repelled my hand, mistook me for some one 
she disliked, and fell into a passion. The finger upon 
benevolence silenced her instantly ; and made her 
amiable, though not attached. I thus could alter her 
mood, and her conception of my person at pleasure, 
and play upon her head as upon a piano. 

" On repeating these experiments, I soon found 
that the same results ensued, though not so rapidly, 
by merely pointing the finger near the organs ; and 
this was the more satisfactory in demonstrating the 
facts to others ; and indeed it has been quite satis- 
factory to every one, for not only were the eyes 
closed, but stopped up by a handful of handkerchiefs, 
held firmly upon each eye, and the experiments were 
made on organs so situated, that had her eyes been 
open, I defy her to know to what organ I was point- 
ing. These experiments I have repeated twenty 
times. But a fact still more wonderful is this : The 
state of the organ of one side gives evidence of itself 



188 MESMERISM. 

on only half of the system. For instance, if I place 
my fingers in her right hand, and Mesmerise attach- 
ment in the right side, she squeezes them and mis- 
takes me for a dear friend ; if I then Mesmerise self- 
esteem, on the left side, she still speaks to me kindly, 
and squeezes my fingers with her right as much as 
ever. But if I place my fingers in her left hand, she re- 
pels them, and speaks scornfully to me, mistaking me 
for some one whom she dislikes. If I take hold of both 
her hands with one of mine, I can at pleasure make 
her repel both, by pointing over each organ of self- 
esteem or destructiveness : squeeze both by pointing 
over each organ of attachment; or repel one and 
squeeze the other, right or left, accordingly as I point 
over the organ of self-esteem or destructiveness on 
the one side, and that of attachment on the other, at 
the same time. These simultaneous, and especially 
the opposite influences on the two sides, are the most 
astonishing and beautiful experiments that all physi- 
ology affords ; and the sight of them enraptures every 
person. They are the more satisfactory, because 
there is no necessity for me to operate ; — any person, 
even a sceptic in both phrenology and Mesmerism, 
may point to and Mesmerise her respective cerebral 
organs himself, if standing behind her. Under the 
opposite states of the two sides of the brain, she will 
address the person supposed on the one side or the 
other, and speak affectionately, proudly, or angrily, 
as attachment on the one hand, or self-esteem or de- 
structiveness on the other, is Mesmerised. The ex- 
pression, the tone, to say nothing of the words or 
the action of her hands, are exquisitely and rapidly 
in character. In the youth, the organs at present 
can be excited by contact only of the point of the 
finger, or by breathing over them. Attachment, 
self-esteem, destructiveness, music, and colour, I 
have excited in him, and the effects came very slow- 
ly, and continue long. 



PHRENO-MESMERISM. 189 

" It is very interesting to see the first degree, and 
the working up of the feelings. When self-esteem be- 
gins slowly, they think others are proud, and then 
become haughty themselves ; when destructiveness 
begins slowly, they think others wish to quarrel, and 
then they quarrel — or they begin to find fault with 
the fancied person, who is beloved in the waking 
state, and then mistake him for one disliked in the 
waking state." 

Dr. Binns, in his Anatomy of Sleep, gives the fol- 
lowing account of the phrenological manifestations 
in the case of a female domestic in the employment 
of Captain and Mrs. Valiant, the same individual, 
we believe, who is referred to in Dr. Charlton's let- 
ter in a previous chapter : — 

" The patient being placed in a chair, Dr. Elliot- 
son commenced the experiment by directing his hand 
in a horizontal position, to the precordia, or perhaps 
the epigastrium. In a few moments, convulsive 
twitchings of the hands began to appear ; she seemed 
distressed ; the eyelids winked convulsively, and 
shortly after she fell asleep. This may be considered 
as the first stage of the phenomena. The second was 
that of intense fear, or horror of being left alone, 
whenever Dr. Elliotson withdrew his hand from hers, 
or ceased to touch any part of her body. This feel- 
ing was, on all occasions, instantly arrested by simple 
contact, even by the doctor s foot being applied to 
hers. A series of the most interesting and extraor- 
dinary phenomena then developed themselves. The 
doctor applied the index finger of the right hand 
upon the organ of veneration, and asked her several 
questions, to all of which she replied with an expres- 
sive humility of feature, and in a submissive tone 
of voice, that were absolute studies. No artist has 
more skilfully depicted, or actor imitated, so perfect 
an expression of this sentiment. But if this was 
wonderful, the extraordinary transition to proud dis- 



1 90 MESMERISM. 

dain, and even to aristocratic hauteur, was astound- 
ing. She elevated her head, threw back her shoul- 
ders, rose slowly and majestically from her chair, 
and stood upright before the doctor on his placing 
his hand on the organ of self-esteem. He said, 
f Why do you rise from your seat ? Do you think 
yourself an empress V ' No/ she replied, with a 
disdainful toss of the head, 4 but I think myself as 
good.' The finger was rapidly passed to the organ 
of veneration, and immediately the countenance re- 
laxed, the body sunk back in its seat, the proud ex- 
pression of self-esteem lapsed away, and the humble 
and servile attendant stood confessed. ' Do you 
think yourself an empress now?' said the doctor. 
' O ! lauk, sir ! what should make you think so ? I 
an empress ! ' — but the expression, the tone, the em- 
phasis, were such as beggar description." 

A number of other similar phenomena were elicited, 
the experiment being conducted in the presence of 
Captain and Mrs. Valiant; and the relator adds, 
that the patient was never Mesmerised phrenologi- 
cally before the preceding Sunday ; had never heard 
of phrenology ; is an ignorant country woman ; and 
was Mesmerised by Captain Valiant, who had never 
until that day attempted the process. The " crown- 
ing fact," as it is termed, with reference to the opera- 
tion performed upon the jaw of the patient, has been 
already given in a preceding chapter. 

A gentleman, who, through the kind invitation of 
Dr. Elliotson, was enabled to witness some experi- 
ments of this description about the end of May 1843, 
has given the following account of what fell under 
his observation : — 

" At the hour appointed, there assembled in Dr. 
Elliotson's drawing-room a party whom it would be 
exceedingly difficult to match, for intelligence and 
beauty, out of the metropolis ; for, besides that por- 
tion of the sterner sex to whom such an exhibition 



PHREXO-MESMERISM. 191 

might be supposed to have its attractions, there were 
present c stores of ladies, whose bright eyes rained 
influence ;' and it argues much for the interest which 
this subject creates amongst all classes, that a disser- 
tation upon it should have the effect of drawing to- 
gether however small a portion of the female aristo- 
cracy of England, who have, at this season, so many 
powerful objects of attraction of a more congenial 
nature ; and it argues still more for the worth and 
intellect of the fair ones of the British Court, that 
they should endeavour, by a personal inspection, to 
satisfy themselves of the reality of that condition, 
which, when once established, bids fair to open up to 
us new views of the natural history of mankind. 

" The first patient introduced was a young girl, 
who has been operated upon hitherto in spite of her- 
self. She had all along been inclined to treat the 
subject with ridicule, and, after having been pre- 
vailed upon to submit, has since formed one of the 
best illustrations of its reality. 

" It took a considerable time to effect the trans- 
formation in this instance, in consequence of her ex- 
treme state of excitement. The change was at last 
effected, and, by dint of continued and repeated 
trials, she was prevailed on to speak. Dr. Elliot- 
son stood beside her chair, and sustained a conver- 
sation with her for a considerable period, while an- 
other gentleman stood behind her chair, and pointed 
at (not touched) the various phrenological develop- 
ments. The changes in her looks, temper, and re- 
plies were very apparent, and such as to satisfy any 
one, since it was impossible that she could form the 
slightest idea of the effects intended to be produced, 
even admitting that these results were produced by 
trickery, which they evidently were not. 

" The chair on which she reclined was wheeled 
into, a corner, and she was left to awaken at her 
leisure. The attitudes into which she threw herself 



192 MESMERISM. 

while in the course of awakening were very beauti- 
ful, and might have afforded models to the painter 
or sculptor. When awoke, she shook hands with, 
and described her sensations to, several of the ladies 
present. 

" The next case was that of an elderly female, 
who, it was stated, had been cured by Baron Du- 
potet of epilepsy, of many years' standing. It is 
now several years since the cure was effected, and 
no return of the complaint has yet occurred. The 
holding of Dr. Elliotsons fingers to her eyes was at- 
tended with an immediate convulsive movement all 
over the system ; in a very few seconds she fell back 
in a state of intense rigidity, which could be re- 
moved by breathing upon any particular limb. In 
whatever position, however, the limb was placed, 
it almost instantly assumed the rigid state, exactly 
resembling the sudden setting of stucco in a mould. 
Several of the ladies went forward to examine for 
themselves, and each expressed their opinion, that it 
would be impossible for the most expert impostor to 
imitate such a condition. The pointing to the vari- 
ous organs was now tried, and was attended with 
even more striking manifestations than in the former 
case. In short, whoever could believe that these re- 
sults were the effects of imposture, must have been 
possessed of even a greater amount of credulity than 
others who humbly believed what they saw, and 
trusted to time and patient investigation for an elu- 
cidation of the mystery. 

" The position which Dr. Elliotson holds as a man 
of science, places him far above being benefited by 
any mere casual notice of his labours ; and it is in- 
deed gratifying to reflect, that although the illiberal 
and bigoted of his own profession have attempted 
to impair his means of usefulness, there are many 
others who, while they have been benefited by him, 
have had the gratitude to acknowledge his services. 



PIIREKO-MESMERISM. 193 

On a side-table in the same room in which this 
meeting was held, there stands, amongst many other 
articles of taste and vertu, a massive piece of gold 
plate, bearing this inscription : — 4 From Wm. Chas. 
Macready to John Elliotson, M.D. in grateful recol- 
lection of benefits which can never be forgotten or 
repaid;' and it agrees with our own knowledge, 
that, from various more humble sources, acknow- 
ledgments of less intrinsic, but equal moral value, 
have stamped him as a man of humanity. 

" To him who has laboured so assiduously to 
mitigate the pains of suffering human nature, may 
be addressed the words of the American poet, Wil- 
cox — 

" c The good begun by thee shall onward flow 
In many a wider stream, and onward grow : 
The seed that in these few and fleeting hours, 
Thy hands unwearied and unsparing sow, 
Shall deck thy grave with amaranthine flowers, 
And yield thee fruits divine in Heaven's immortal bowers.' " 

Mr. Braid's first attempts to produce the Phreno- 
Mesmeric phenomena, were made at Liverpool in the 
month of April 1 842, but without success. In Decem- 
ber of the same year, after reading a report of Mr. Spen- 
cer Hall's lectures, he again made an attempt, and pro- 
duced several manifestations on the very first patient. 
A large number of cases, of a highly interesting cha- 
racter, are given in Mr. Braid's volume, but we can 
only refer briefly to a few of them. That of Mrs. 

Col. , which is thus narrated, is important, on 

account of the high respectability of all the parties. 

" Mrs. Col. submitted to be operated upon 

by me, in presence of her husband; as also the 
Major, the Captain and Surgeon of the regiment, 
a high dignitary of the Church, and who is also an 
eminently scientific gentleman; Mr. Gardom, sur- 
geon, and other professional gentlemen ; Mr. Aspinal 
Turner, and a number of others, both ladies and 



1 94 MESMERISM. 

gentlemen. In about three minutes after she was 
asleep, I placed two fingers over the point named 
Veneration ; instantly the aspect of her countenance 
changed ; in a little, she slowly, and solemnly, and 
majestically arose from her chair, advanced towards 
the table in the middle of the room, and softly sank 
on her knees, and exhibited such a picture of devout 
adoration as can never be forgotten by any who had 
the gratification to witness it. She was tested with 
a number of other faculties, when the corresponding 
manifestations were equally striking and character- 
istic. When awakened, this lady was quite uncon- 
scious of all which had happened." 

Some parties, who were excellent critics, having 
expressed a wish to see some one operated on for the 
first time, Mr. Braid offered to do so on any of three 
young ladies whom they had introduced to him that 
afternoon, and whom he had not known previously. 
He goes on to say — 

" Miss S. sat down an entire sceptic, but in a few 
minutes she was not only most decidedly hypnotised, 
but also one of the most beautiful and decided ex- 
amples which could possibly have been met with of 
the phrenological sway during hypnotism, simply by 
stimulating the nerves of the scalp and face. The 
moment ' veneration ' was touched, her features as- 
sumed the peculiar expression of that feeling ; the 
hands were clasped ; she sank on her knees in the at- 
titude of the most devout adoration. Combined with 
' hope,' the features were illuminated, and beamed 
with a feeling of ecstacy, the hands being unclasped 
and moved about in the utmost delight ; and when 
' ideality' was added, the ecstacy was so extreme as 
scarcely to be supportable. On changing the point 
of contact to ' firmness/ she instantly arose, and stood 
with an attitude of defiance ; ' self-esteem' — flounced 
about with the utmost self-importance ; the ' love of 
approbation' was painted to the greatest perfection ; 



PHRENO-MESMERISM 195 

' imitation' imitated accurately every thing done, or 
spoken in any language ; ' friendship and adhesive- 
ness' — clasped hold of me ; and by stimulating ' com- 
bativeness' on the opposite side of the head, along 
with the other, she struck out with the arm of the 
side on which f combativeness' had been touched, but 
held me fast, as if to protect me, with the other. 
Under ' benevolence/ she seemed much affected, and 
distributed her property to the imaginary distressed 
objects her fancy had painted ; under 4 acquisitive- 
ness' she stole, and under ' conscientiousness' she re- 
stored ; ' tune' — the desire for music, and sang beau- 
tifully ; a waltz being played, she danced with a grace 
and elegance surpassing all which any of us ever wit- 
nessed. c Eventuality ' was also most remarkable ; 
the desire to eat, to smell, was also excited ; also 
form, figures, colours, &c. ; philoprogenitiveness — 
admirable. All this was done at first trial, with an 
entire stranger ; and the lady's immediate friends, as 
well as others present, can bear testimony that there 
was not the slightest prompting either by one or 
other ; and when awakened, she was quite uncon- 
scious of all which had happened. This lady has been 
twice operated on since, when all these manifesta- 
tions, and many others, were exhibited in the most 
perfect manner, as can be certified by Sir Thomas Ar- 
buthnot, Major Wilbraham, Colonel Wemyss, the 
Rev. Mr. P., and another high dignitary of the 
Church, and the patient's family and friends ; and 
that when under ' number ' she wrote down a sum, 
and under ' constructiveness and ideality,' she drew 
a very good sketch of a cottage, putting in doors and 

windows correctly. 

* * * * 

" At a conversazione a few days after, in the pre- 
sence of Lady S., Sir Thomas Arbuthnot, Colonel Ar- 
buthnot, Major Wilbraham, John Frederick Foster, 
Esq., Chairman of the Quarter Sessions, D. Maude, 



196 MESMERISM. 

Esq., stipendiary magistrate, and many others, both 
gentlemen and ladies, after exhibiting the phenomena 
on those who had been previously tested, there was 
a wish expressed to see some one operated on for the 
first time. I offered to try any one present, and a 
lady at length consented, whom I never saw before 
that day, nor since. She exhibited all the usual phe- 
nomena very decidedly. Under ' acquisitiveness,' she 
stole two handkerchiefs from ladies, and a ring from 
Mr. Foster's finger. After several manifestations had 
been exhibited, the moment I touched ' conscientious- 
ness' she seemed distressed, and set off and searched 
out the proper parties to whom to restore the respec- 
tive articles. They had changed places, but she found 
them out, and gave back the handkerchiefs to their 
owners, and also put the ring on the very finger of 
Mr. Foster, from which she had taken it. She was 
a strict Methodist, who had never danced in her life, 
and who, if awake, would have considered it a sin to 
dance. However, under the excitement of suitable 
music, she cut a very good figure at waltzing. When 
awakened, she remembered nothing of all which had 
happened." 

We shall give another case from Mr. Braid, in 
which the patient remembered afterwards what had 
taken place while she was in the trance. 

" Miss R., a young lady of 22 years of age, very 
well-educated, and intelligent, wished to be tried, be- 
cause she was decidedly sceptical. It so happened, 
that every manifestation tried, came out beautifully 
and prominently, although, when aroused, she admit- 
ted she remembered everything she had done, and 
added, that she had resisted to the utmost of her 
power doing anything, but felt irresistible impulses 
come over her to act in the way she did, as I touch- 
ed certain points, but why it was she could not tell. 
Declared it was not from any association with what 
ought to be the case, as she was ignorant of the or- 



PHRENO-MESMERISM. 197 

gans, but added, that she first felt a drawing in the 
muscles of the face, and then the breathing became 
affected, and with this, the peculiar impulse followed. 
On another occasion, with the eyes bandaged, she had 
a pencil put in her right hand, when a number of or- 
gans were excited, but she showed no evidence of any 
desire to use the pencil till c constructiveness and idea- 
lity* were excited. The moment this was done, how- 
ever, she scrambled till she got some paper, and be- 
gan drawing, and made a very tolerable profile. 
When • acquisitiveness' was excited, she stole a ring 
off Mr. Foster's finger, who, while I was exciting va- 
rious manifestations, left the room. The moment I 
touched ' conscientiousness,' she set off in search of 
Mr. Foster, walked round the room the very way he 
went, then left that room, crossed the lobby into the 
front parlour, and having made a gyration in this 
room, she came out and went into a back-parlour, 
where she found Mr. Foster, and put the ring on the 
very finger from whence she took it. She evidently 
traced him through the air by smell, as she followed 
the exact track he had taken ; for he had first gone 
into the front parlour. Had it been by clairvoy- 
ance, she of course ought to have gone to him direct, 
and by the shortest way. Such facts are almost past 
belief, but here they are as they happened ; and there 
could not have been more competent individuals than 
those present to detect any mistake or deception, 
namely, Mr. Foster, Mr. Brandt, and Mr. Lloyd, bar- 
risters ; Mr. Langton, Mr. Bagshaw, Mr. Schwabe, 
and many others, both gentlemen and ladies." 

Mr. Braid states that Mr. Vandenhoff, the eminent 
tragedian, was present on one occasion, and after 
witnessing some experiments similar to the above, 
made the following observation : — " If this is acting, 
it is the most perfect acting I have ever seen. In 
acting, we aim at being natural, but there is general- 
ly some point in which we fail ; but here I see na- 



] 98 MESMERISM. 

ture's language in every point." Mr. Vandenhoff two 
days afterwards addressed a letter to Mr. Braid, of 
which the following is an extract : — " I thank you 
for your kind invitation to witness a repetition of those 
experiments which so much delighted me on Saturday 
last, and with the result of which I was no less gra- 
tified than astonished. Never have I seen nature ma- 
nifesting herself more distinctly — never so beautiful- 
ly as in the course of the exhibition on that evening. 
I believe you know I was a decided sceptic in the 
Mesmeric influence — and I was something more in 
relation to its phrenological sway — of which the ma- 
nifestations, while under its mysterious influence, by 
the two young ladies of my own immediate acquain- 
tance, who had not, who could not have had, any 
knowledge of the subject prior to their experience on 
that evening, have perfectly convinced me by their 
truthfulness." 

Mr. James Simpson, a member of the Scottish bar, 
and well known for his philanthropic efforts in the 
cause of education, has given an account in the Phre- 
nological Journal, of the case of a young lady, the 
daughter of a gentleman holding a high public situa- 
tion in Edinburgh. Mr. Simpson says, — 

u One evening last week, a lady, the wife of a gen- 
tleman holding a high public situation in Edinburgh, 
paid my family a visit, accompanied by three of her 
daughters, and a young lady from England, then her 
visitor. As the young people had through their mo- 
ther expressed a wish to have a trial made of their 
susceptibility of the Mesmeric influence, Mr. Craig 
was invited to meet them. To him they were all 
perfect strangers. One of the young ladies, after 
some persuasion — for when the moment came the as- 
pirants were rather timid — sat down for the opera- 
tion. Her age is about fifteen — temperament nervo- 
lymphatic — expression composed, mild, good-na- 
tured, sincere, and grave — manner quiet, remark- 



PHRENO-MESMERISM. 190 

ably gentle, and modest. She was a subject from 
whom we did not look for lively manifestations of 
either intellect or feeling. Her family bore witness 
that she knew Phrenology only by name, had given 
it no attention, and knew nothing of the position of 
the organs, or of their manifestions in words, expres- 
sion, gesture, or demeanour. I need not say that all 
tutoring by Mr. Craig, collusion with him, or bribery 
by him, was out of the question. Her father, whom 
I saw two days afterwards, assured me that she 
could not have imagined, much less acted, the things 
now to be described. It was a case (to use a law 
phrase) omni exceptione major. After one or two 
interruptions, which lengthened the process, she was 
consigned to sleep in about ten minutes, and during 
the whole subsequent experiments her eyes remained 
closely shut. She evinced the Mesmeric attraction 
to the operator, and was unwilling to lose hold of his 
hand. The cerebral organs to be excited were chosen 
by myself, and communicated to Mr. Craig. The 
first was Benevolence, which, when touched, was ma- 
nifested in a very kindly and gentle smile, but with- 
out words or action. Self-esteem was next tried. 
The countenance assumed an expression of calm self- 
complacency. She stood up and hurriedly undid one 
of two very large and thick tails in which her hair 
was plaited, threw it over her arm, and displayed it, 
holding it out to view with a graceful, almost theatrical 
air. Her face, as she did so, expressed the extreme 
of self-approbation. To get her to talk, Mr. Craig 
touched the eyes so as to excite Language, and asked 
her what she was doing. She answered, ' Showing 
my hair, to be sure.' ' Are you proud of your hair?' 
c Yes, I am.' c Oh ! it is very ordinary hair.' The 
answer to this was a most dogmatic pout of the un- 
der lip, and a silent turn away in scorn. Love of 
approbation was then touched, still allowing self-es- 
teem to act, to observe their joint action — for they 



200 MESMERISM. 

generally act together in life. The effect was marked 
by all present — the haughty air of pride gave way to 
the more pliant expression of vanity ; the other tail 
was rapidly undone, that the contributions of appro- 
bation might be the greater ; and the entire chevelure 
was held up on both sides, and parted becomingly on 
the face, which smiled with something of a coquettish 
air, quite different from the self-conceited look which 
had just been exhibited. The expression and atti- 
tude were so pleasing, that one of her own sisters re- 
marked, what we all concurred in, ' She is beautiful !' 
a proof how much the expression of feeling is a con- 
stituent of beauty. Her sister mentioning in a whis- 
per that she was remarkably fond of children, Philo- 
progenitiveness was signified to Mr. Craig. It ap- 
peared to me, that instead of touching that organ in 
its centre, he touched its two sides, and trespassed on 
adhesiveness ; and this suspicion was verified by the 
manifestation, for her attraction to Mr. Craig was not 
merely Mesmeric — it became inconveniently adhe- 
sive, and the graspings of the hand more and more 
energetic. When he disengaged himself and moved 
away, she followed him round the room, expressing 
a great uneasiness at the separation, and even mount- 
ing upon an ottoman after him — her expression con- 
veying suffering and anxiety, which subsided into a 
happy tranquillity whenever he sat down beside her. 
Wishing to see the effect of raising Combativeness, 
that again was touched ; instantly she writhed or fid- 
getted in a way so like pain, that her mother begged 
she might be awakened. She beat down the opera- 
tor's hands from her head, rose and again followed 
him round the room, and in passing me, treated me 
with a smart back-handed blow on the breast. This 
striking proof of her being in a state violently op- 
posed to her ordinary timid, modest, and respectful 
character, will be explained in the sequel. 

" Her Mesmeriser now told her that it was odd 






PIIRENO-MESMERISM. 201 

and particular to go about with her hair streaming ; 
she with still greater rapidity than she had taken it 
down, sat down on the carpet and plaited up both 
tails with perfect correctness, tying them each with 
a piece of ribbon, and rejecting a piece given her as 
not her own; and we observed that she held one 
elbow firm on Mr. Craig's knee as he sat beside her, 
to prevent him escaping during the performance of 
her toilet. 

" At her mother's earnest request, the young lady 
was now awakened, and simply by the operator blow- 
ing upon her head for a minute or two. As is almost 
invariably the case, she was unwilling to be com- 
pletely wakened, and laying her head on the high 
back of the chair, entreated that she might be allowed 
to sleep on. As, however, her bed at home was 
deemed the fitter place for this indulgence, she was 
completely roused, and exhibited considerable embar- 
rassment. 

" What the family reported to me next day is not 
the least singular part of this interesting case. Hers, 
it seems, was one of the rare instances where there 
is only partial oblivion, afterwards, of the state 
during the Mesmeric sleep. She told them that she 
had an occasional consciousness, as she described it, 
of where she was, and then saw those who were about 
her. She said she did not know how it came, but 
she was filled with a high and proud feeling of her 
own merit, importance, and beauty, and of contempt 
for all present except her Mesmeriser. She further 
thought that she was the object of envy, especially 
to one of my daughters, whom she named. She was 
quite convinced, she said, that I had ' thumped' her 
on the head, and longed to fly at me and beat me in 
return. This, Mr. Craig said, must have arisen from 
my having differed from him as to the spot he 
touched, touching another myself immediately before 
he excited combativeness. Her eyes were closely shut 



202 MESMERISM. 

when she passed me, and gave me a blow, and I was 
the only one so distinguished. She, almost imme- 
diately after waking, complained to her sisters of my 
rudeness to her, and went home, and to bed, nay, 
rose next morning, unpersuaded and unpersuadable 
that the charge was a hallucination of her Mesmeric 
state. She yielded at last to the concurring assur- 
ance of her mother and sisters, and their visitor, so 
far as to pardon me, which is the more generous, as 
her own impression, as the best witness, is still 
against me, and that the blow she dealt to me at the 
time was very well bestowed. She described her 
state as one of a degree of happiness quite unwonted, 
in which she had neither power nor wish to resist her 
delighted feelings, and the return to realities as ex- 
tremely depressing and dull — a state in which she 
continued the whole of the next day. The family, 
however, to her great regret, would not permit a re- 
petition of the Mesmerisation." 

The case of Agnes G , in Chapter V., reported 

by a friend, in whose veracity we have the most im- 
plicit reliance, is a highly satisfactory proof of the 
reality of manifestations of this description. 

Another gentleman, also of the utmost integrity, 
who knew nothing of Phrenology or Mesmerism, 
save by name, had the curiosity to try to induce the 
Mesmeric sleep in a boy of about twelve years of 
age. He was successful at the very first attempt, 
and no support having been prepared, the boy s head 
fell back in sleep. In order to raise the head up, 
and get it placed in a more comfortable position, the 
operator chanced to place his hands behind the ears, 
when, to his great surprise, the sleeping, and usually 
quiet boy, sprung at him in a fighting attitude, and 
he had some difficulty in getting quit of the grasp 
with which he was seized. The gentleman had no 
idea of the cause of this manifestation, until, on 
calling in the assistance of a friend acquainted with 



PHRENO-MESMERISM. 203 

phrenology, and explaining to him what had taken 
place, it turned out that he had unwittingly put his 
hands upon the organ of combativeness. The same 
manifestation was again produced, as well as many 
others, into the details of which we will not enter. 
The anecdote is chiefly interesting from the fact of 
operator and patient being alike ignorant of phre- 
nology. 

We might go on to multiply cases of a similar 
nature from books, as well as from the private expe- 
rience of Mesmerisers, but we have adduced what 
we conceive to be a body of evidence amply sufficient 
to prove that the manifestations of Phreno-Mesmer- 
ism are real and not feigned. The high character 
of Dr. Elliotson, and others, by whom experiments 
have been performed, as well as the position in so- 
ciety of many of the individuals operated upon, puts 
the idea of trick or collusion utterly out of the ques- 
tion. The truth of the manifestations we hold as 
completely proved, explain them in whatever man- 
ner we may. 

Dr. Elliotson, and others, who believe in both 
Mesmerism and Phrenology, maintain that the ma- 
nifestations are so many proofs of the truth of Phre- 
nology ; while Mr. Colquhoun, who rejects Phreno- 
logy, accounts for them by the supposition that they 
are produced by the will of the operator ; that the 
latter, in putting his hand upon a particular organ, 
naturally looks for a certain result, and that it is 
produced accordingly, through the community of feel- 
ing existing between him and the patient. In his 
letter appended to Dr. Engledue's address already 
referred to, Dr. Elliotson says, in reference to the 
question here started, — 

" If it should be urged, that these experiments 
prove nothing for phrenology, because the excite- 
ment of certain ideas in the brain of the patient re- 
sulted from the mere will of the operator, and not 



204 MESMERISM. 

from his manipulations over particular cerebral or- 
gans, the answer is easy. The will of the operator 
certainly must be influential in producing Mesmeric 
sleep, if it is true that patients may be Mesmerised to 
sleep when the Mesmeriser is far away from them ; 
and I presume it is. But this can be only one 
source of power. I have made experiments in Mes- 
merism daily, except the two months when I travel 
in every year, for five years, carefully, with no other 
desire than that of truth, and in the utmost variety 
of cases, and have never once discovered the influence 
of my will. I have never produced any effect by 
merely willing. I have never seen reason to believe 
(and I have made innumerable comparative experi- 
ments upon the point) that I have heightened the 
effect of my processes by exerting the strongest will, 
or lessened them by thinking intentionally of other 
things, and endeavouring to bestow no more atten- 
tion upon what I was about than was just necessary 
to carry on the process. So far from willing, I have 
at first had no idea of what would be the effect of 
ray processes,— one set of phenomena have come un- 
expectedly in one case, and one in another, without 
my being able to explain the diversity of effect: 
nay, the same process, conducted with the same ob- 
ject^ turns out to produce opposite results in different 
cases. For instance, I can powerfully excite the in- 
dividual cerebral organs in the young gentleman by 
breathing over them ; but when I breathe over those 
of the young lady, desiring and expecting the same 
effects, no excitement is produced ; on the contrary, if 
they are already excited, they at once become inactive. 
The same effect requires different processes in diffe- 
rent persons ; point to the epigastrium of some per- 
sons, and will with all your might, and no result 
comes, but point to their eyes, and they drop asleep ; 
make passes, or point at the back of the head, and 
will with all your might, and either no effect will en- 



PHRENO-MESMERISM. 205 

sue, or sleep will not take place before far longer time 
has elapsed than if you operate before the face ; you 
may make passes in vain with all your might before 
the face of some persons, who drop senseless pre- 
sently if you merely point ; and hence is apparent 
the error of those who gratuitously assert, that the 
processes merely heighten the will of the operator. 
As to the influence of the operator's will in exciting 
the cerebral organs, the effect ensues as well in my 
female patient, though the manipulator be a sceptic, 
and may therefore be presumed not to wish the 
proper result to ensue, and though I stand aside and 
do not know what organ he has in view : I have 
never excited them by the mere will : I have ex- 
cited them with my fingers just as well when think- 
ing of other matters with my friends, and momen- 
tarily forgetting what I was about : I have always 
failed, however much I willed, when I have directed 
the finger to another organ than that which I willed 
to excite intentionally, or have accidentally mis- 
directed my finger : I was taken quite by surprise 
when I found that I Mesmerised an organ, self- 
esteem, for instance, in the half only to which my 
finger happened to be pointed." 

We are unable to agree entirely either with Mr. 
Colquhoun or Dr. Elliotson. The will of the opera- 
tor we conceive to be totally insufficient to account 
for the varied manifestations of Phreno-Mesmerism. 
The individual placing his hand upon the organs may 
be an utter sceptic in phrenology, or he may be ig- 
norant of their position, and therefore not aware of 
the effect about to be produced, and yet the manifes- 
tation may be correctly produced. On the other hand, 
we think Dr. Elliotson mistaken in placing so little 
reliance on the power of the operator's will. That 
his own experience is faithfully related, there cannot 
be a doubt, but it has been different with many others. 

We have seen many curious results flow from the 



206 MESMERISM. 

mentally expressed wish of the operator, some of 
which have been recorded in the cases in this volume. 

In that of Catherine M , on one occasion when 

her brother had excited the organ of love of appro- 
bation, she began to decorate her person, took down 
her hair, and commenced to comb it. The manifes- 
tation stopped the instant the finger was removed. 
We quietly requested him, without again going near 
the patient, to proceed to a distant part of the room, 
and there to wish that the manifestation should be 
resumed. On his doing so, she commenced at the 
part she broke off, went on with the duties of the 
toilet, and did not stop until he again came near her. 
He was then requested also in such a manner that 
the patient could not be aware of what was about to 
be done, to put his fingers upon Conscientiousness, 
but firmly to will the manifestation of Acquisitive- 
ness. It appeared to some present, that there was a 
conflict going on for a time in the mind of the pa- 
tient, but the practical result of the experiment was, 
that she picked her brother's pockets. He then ceased 
to wish, keeping his fingers still unmoved upon Con- 
scientiousness, when she threw away the articles of 
which she had possessed herself, and exhibited strong 
marks of shame at having been detected in an im- 
proper act. We do not bring forward these facts for 
the purpose of disproving the organology of phreno- 
logy, but merely to show that the will of the opera- 
tor—his wish unexpressed in ordinary language — has 
a powerful effect upon the minds of certain patients. 
Again, patients have been led into erroneous ma- 
nifestations, through conversations carried on by those 
around them. Thus, an operator and patient, alike 
ignorant of phrenology, being selected for the purpose 
of testing the truth of that science, results such as the 
following were induced : A gentleman present under- 
took to guide the operator, and stating aloud that he 
intended that Veneration should be touched, directed 



PHRENO-MESMERISM. 207 

the hand of the operator to the organ of Acquisitive- 
ness. The manifestation was that of Veneration. In 
the same manner, the patient picked pockets on Ve- 
neration being touched, and the manifestation was in- 
variably that talked of by the gentleman who direct- 
ed, and not that of the organ which the operator 
touched. We have seen patients who danced when- 
ever a particular part of the leg was touched ; dis- 
covered smells upon the hand of the operator being 
applied to the nose ; and spectators might almost have 
been led to fancy that there were organs in every cor- 
ner of the face. In these cases, we should suppose 
that there must have been some sort of previous 
teaching, and that the patient, associating the idea 
of a particular manifestation with being touched in a 
particular spot, thus came to repeat it. We must re - 
collect, that the memory of sleep-walkers is much 
more acute than in their ordinary state, and that the 
most trifling occurrence is recalled by them with the 
greatest accuracy. 

These hints are thrown out principally for the pur- 
pose of inducing caution. In the hands of some ope- 
rators, organs are multiplying at a wonderfully rapid 
rate, such as it is difficult to follow ; and inquirers 
would do well to proceed with the utmost care in the 
investigation. We neither admit nor reject Mesme- 
rism as a proof of the truth of phrenology. We cer- 
tainly incline to the opinion that the connection be- 
tween the two doctrines will ultimately be esta- 
blished ; but, meanwhile, we should like to see the 
question submitted to the test of further careful ex- 
periment. 

Mr. Braid has unfolded a theory in Neurypnology 
which will be best understood by quoting his own 
language. 

u It must be obvious to all," he says, * that every 
variety of passion and emotion can be excited in the 
mind by music ; but how does this arise ? Simply 



208 MESMERISM. 

by the different effects produced by the varied de- 
grees of velocity, force, quality, and combinations of 
the oscillations of the air acting on the auditory 
nerves ; these again communicated to the brain ; and 
this, acting on the mind and body, creating corres- 
ponding mental and bodily manifestations. Every 
one must have observed the remarkable effects 
evinced by these means on the physiognomy, and 
the more critically observant must have noticed, 
that in susceptible individuals there is also a very 
marked change in the state of the respiration and 
general posture of the body. They must also have 
experienced, in themselves and others, how prone we 
are to assume a sympathetic condition, both of mind 
and body, from those with whom we associate, or 
during a temporary interview. These physical 
changes seem to result from a mental influence im- 
parted through the eyes and ears, and then reflected 
from within, through the respiratory, facial, and spinal 
nerves, on the external form and features. Now, 
such being the case, is there any great improbability 
that, by calling the muscles of expression into action 
during the hypnotic state, by titillating certain 
nerves, that the impression of the feeling with which 
such external manifestation is generally associated, 
should be reflected on the brain, and excite in the 
mind the particular passion or emotion. I think it 
is highly probable this is the true cause of the phreno- 
logical manifestations during the hypnotic condition ; 
and as it is the peculiar feature of this condition that 
the whole energies of the soul should be concentrated 
on the emotion excited, the manifestation, of course, 
becomes very decided. I presume, the different 
points pressed on, through the stimulus given to 
various fasciculi of nerves, call into action certain 
combinations of muscles of expression in the face 
and general frame, and also influence the organs of 
respiration, and thus the mind is influenced, indi- 



PHRENO-MESMERISM. 209 

rectly, through the organs of common sensation and 
the sympathetic, as sneezing is excited in some by 
too strong a light irritating the optic nerves. Two 
patients, who are highly intelligent, and remain par- 
tially conscious, and who acknowledge they did all 
in their power to resist the influence excited by 
manipulating the head, state that the first feeling 
was a drawing of the muscles of the face and affec- 
tion of the breathing, which was followed by an irre- 
sistible impulse to act as they did, but why they 
could not tell. 

" In this view of the subject, it would resolve it- 
self into the laws of sympathy ; and the question 
then is, Where are the external or superficial points 
of the sympathies located ? Experience must decide 
this ; and in the peculiar condition induced by hyp- 
notism, according to my own experience, this can be 
more readily and certainly determined than in the 
normal state. These points having been ascer- 
tained, we can then determine how and where to 
act, according to our particular object, and it can be 
of no real importance where the cerebral points or 
special organs may be posited. 

" As to the real locations of the sympathetic points, 
by stimulating which we produce peculiar manifes- 
tations, they appear to me not to be quite accurately 
the same on all heads, but, on the whole, pretty 
near the centres of the organs as mapped out on 
heads generally approved by phrenologists; and I 
have had decided proof that there is some relation 
subsists between the size and function, as in general 
there is more energy displayed when there is large 
development, and the negative when it is defective. 
Thus a patient with large combativeness or destruc- 
tiveness, when excited during hypnotism, will dis- 
play great violence and disposition to attack others, 
whereas, where they are defective they will shrink, 



210 MESMERISM. 

and express a fear that some one is quarrelling, or 
angry with them. 

" If the solution of the cause of these remarkable 
phenomena now given should not be deemed correct, 
the only other which occurs to my mind as at all 
satisfactory is this, that the different fasciculi of sen- 
tient nerves excite directly the corresponding points 
of the brain, and these again the physical manifesta- 
tions. We know by what musical combinations and 
movements we can excite the different passions ; we 
know also that this arises from some peculiar im- 
pression communicated to the brain through the 
portio mollis of the seventh pair of nerves ; and 
whether this is conveyed to it as a single organ 
only, or as a combination of organs, it is clear that, 
as the origin of the seventh is more remote from the 
brain than the origin of the fifth, there must, conse- 
quently, be at least as great difficulty in accounting 
for such results being excited through the different 
branches of the seventh as through those of t\v& fifth 
pair." 

And, at a subsequent page, Mr. Braid adds, — 
" We all know, that during common sleep, a per- 
son unconsciously changes from an uncomfortable 
position to one which is agreeable. This is a sort of 
instinctive action ; and, as already explained, I think 
it highly probable that by thus calling into action 
muscles which are naturally so exerted in manifest- 
ing any given emotion or propensity, they may, by 
reflection, thereby rouse that portion of the brain, 
the activity of which usually excites the motion. In 
this case, there would be a sort of inversion of the 
ordinary sequence, what is naturally the consequence 
becoming the cause of cerebral and mental excitation. 
The following hypothesis will illustrate my meaning. 
It is easy to imagine that putting a pen or pencil 
into the hand might excite in the mind the idea of 



PHRENO-MESMERISM. 211 

writing or drawing, or that stimulating the gastroc- 
nemius, which raises us on our toes, might naturally 
enough suggest to the mind the idea of dancing, 
without any other suggestion to that effect than 
what arises from the attitude and activity of the 
muscles, naturally and necessarily brought into play 
whilst exercising such functions. However, I would 
very much doubt the probability of stimulating the 
muscles of the leg exciting the idea of writing, or 
that placing a pen or pencil in the hand would ex- 
cite the idea of dancing, without previous concert 
and arrangement to that effect. It is upon the same 
principle, as I imagine, that, during the dreamy state 
of hypnotism, by stimulating the sterno-mastoid 
muscle, which causes an inclination of the head, the 
idea of friendship and shaking of hands is excited in 
the mind, and when the trapizus is excited at same 
time, the greater lateral inclination of the head mani- 
fests still greater attachment or ' adhesiveness/ Phi- 
loprogenitiveness, by calling into action the recti and 
occipito frontalis muscles, gives the rocking motion, 
and hence the idea of nursing, &c. ; pressure on the 
vortex, by calling into action all the muscles requi- 
site to sustain the body in the erect position, excites 
the idea of unyielding firmness; veneration and 
benevolence, from giving the tendency to stoop and 
suppress the breathing, thus create the corresponding 
feelings. By exciting the muscles of mastication 
into action, the idea of eating and drinking is roused, 
and the same may arise from pressing between the 
chin and underlip, which first excites a flow of saliva, 
and this again the motion of the tongue and jaws, 
with an inclination to swallow. In like manner, 
gently pressing the tip of the nose, by exciting in- 
spiration, creates the desire for something to smell 
at ; if the point of contact is the cheek, under the 
orbits, over the exit of the m/ra-orbital branch of 



212 MESMERISM. 

the fifth pair, the breathing becomes suppressed, and 
depressing emotions are excited ; whereas above the 
orbit, so as to stimulate the supra-oihit&\ branch of 
the fifth pair, generally the reverse manifestations 
are evinced." 

In a communication which we have received from 
Mr. Braid since the publication of his treatise, he 
says, — " My theory of the cause of the primary im- 
pression and association, which is adduced as pro- 
bable in the work, I have now clearly proved to be 
the true solution, and these remarkable manifesta- 
tions neither prove nor disprove the doctrine of sepa- 
rate organs in the brain." 

Both Dr. Elliotson and Mr. Braid quote a passage 
from Smellie's Philosophy of Natural History^ which, 
as it has a remarkable bearing upon the point under 
discussion, we transfer to this place. 

" I can conceive," says Smellie, " a superior being 
so thoroughly acquainted with the human frame, so 
perfectly skilled in the connection and mutual de- 
pendence which subsists between our intellect and 
our sensitive organs, as to be able, by titillating in 
various modes and directions, particular combinations 
of nerves, or particular branches of any single nerve, 
to excite in the mind what ideas he may think pro- 
per. I can likewise conceive the possibility of sug- 
gesting any particular idea, or species of ideas, by 
affecting the nerves in the same manner as those 
ideas affect them by any other cause." 

The superior being alluded to by Smellie is not 
needed, and man can now play upon his fellow-man 
as upon a nicely-tuned instrument, bringing forth 
whatever manifestations his fingers may direct. 

It has been mentioned that at the outset, Mr. 
Braid was unsuccessful in producing the Phrenologi- 
cal manifestions, and many persons we are aware fail 
in the same manner, and probably from similar causes. 



PHRENO-MESMERISM. 2 1 3 

The following directions for operating are given in 
Neurypnology. 

" Put the patient into the hypnotic condition in the 
usual way, extend his arms for a minute or two, then 
replace them gently on his lap, and allow him to re- 
main perfectly quiet for a few minutes. Let the 
points of one or two fingers be now placed on the 
central point of any of his best developed organs, and 
press it very gently ; if no change of countenance or 
bodily movement is evinced, use gentle friction, and 
then in a soft voice ask what he is thinking of, what 
he would like, or wish to do, or what he sees, as the 
function of the organ may indicate ; and repeat the 
questions and the pressure, or contact, or friction, 
over the organ till an answer is elicited. If very 
stolid, gentle pressure on the eyeballs may be neces- 
sary to induce him to speak. If the skin is too sen- 
sitive, he may awake, in which case try again, wait- 
ing a little longer ; if too stolid, try again, beginning 
the manipulations sooner. 

" The operations should be tried again and again 
with the same patient, varying the time of beginning 
the manipulations, as it is impossible to tell, a priori, 
the exact moment they should be commenced ; and 
many of the best cases have only succeeded partially, 
or not at all, at a first or second trial. When this 
point has been hit upon, however, there will be little 
difficulty in getting out additional manifestations, and 
this will be still more evident at each succeeding 
trial. 

" Whispering or talking should be carefully avoid- 
ed by all present, so as to leave nature to manifest 
herself in her own way, influenced only by the sti- 
mulus conveyed through the nerves of touch excit- 
ing to automatic muscular action." 

Mr. Braid has promised, in the work to which we 
are indebted for these extracts, to proceed with the 
investigation of this curious subject. Dr. Elliotson 



214 MESMERISM. 

is, we know, also engaged in making experiments, 
the results of which will no doubt be one day made 
public. The labours of the various lecturers who 
have visited different parts of the country, have been 
useful in stirring up inquiry. Occasionally harm has 
been done by a vulgar or rash experimentalist pro- 
mising more than it was in his power at all times to 
perform ; but, on the whole, good has been accom- 
plished by the appeal to the public. While we cor- 
dially concur in the opinion that experiments in Mes- 
merism are best suited for the select circle in pri- 
vacy, there are, nevertheless, many which may be 
satisfactorily demonstrated before a larger audience ; 
and since, with a few honourable exceptions, the men 
whose especial duty it was to inquire into Mesmerism 
have shrunk back from the task, we are not sorry 
that the means have been afforded to the public of 
judging in the question for themselves. The in- 
quiries now in progress cannot fail to lead to a solu- 
tion of the difficulties which still surround Phreno- 
Mesmerism. 









215 



CHAPTER VIII. 

TRIALS OF MESMERISM ON THE BRUTE CREATION. 

The Rev. Mr. Townshend, Mr. Braid, and other 
writers, allude in general terms to the fact of Mesme- 
rism having been tried on the brute creation. 

Dr. Elliotson is reported to have stated at a meet- 
ing of the London Phrenological Society, that the 
Duke of Marlborough had informed him that while 
at the Marquis of Elys seat in Ireland, and strolling 
out in the morning, he came upon a very ferocious 
dog, chained in a farm-yard. The Duke durst not 
approach, but standing at a respectable distance Mes- 
merised him, and going up, actually embraced the 
sleeping animal. 

Mr. Borrow, in his fascinating work, " The 
Bible in Spain," relates that he averted in an analo- 
gous manner the attack of a large dog which flew 
at him. 

The only regular series of experiments on brutes, 
of which, so far as we are aware, any account has 
been given to the world, were those performed by 
Dr. Wilson, physician to the Middlesex Hospital. 
As Dr. Wilson's work* is but little known among 
general readers, we trust it is unnecessary to make 
any apology for drawing pretty largely upon its 
pages. Dr. Wilson states, that having applied Mes- 
merism with the most beneficial effects upon several 



* Trials of Animal Magnetism on the Brute Creation. By John 
Wilson, Physician to the Middlesex Hospital. London : Sher- 
wood, Gilbert, and Piper. 1839. 



216 MESMERISM. 

of his patients, he nevertheless felt himself restrained 
from proceeding further, and was induced by various 
considerations to institute some experiments, with the 
view of ascertaining what effects could be produced 
by it upon the brute creation. He goes on to say — 

" My first experiments on animals were made on 
cats, but as they were more or less connected with 
the cases of my patients which I have not entered 
upon here, I may briefly notice that many experi- 
ments were made on four cats and kittens, at inter- 
vals, from the 16th May to the 3d October 1838, and 
each of them was put to sleep at the first trial ; and 
ultimately I was able to put first one and then an- 
other to sleep, and at the end to leave three sleeping 
together, being as many as could ordinarily be brought 
together at once. 

" One of these, a torn, the first of them that was 
magnetised, and on which that operation had been 
most frequently repeated, became easily and strongly 
influenced by them, so that he has been pulled about, 
lifted up by the nape of the neck, and the ears tick- 
led with a pen, during which he would remain mo- 
tionless, and the cat was then said to be in a state of 
catalepsy ; sometimes when lifted up by the head or 
tail, the eyes might partially open without the limbs 
moving, and when dropped down, the eyes again 
closed, and he continued to sleep, without making 
any effort to move from the place where he had been 
dropped. 

" My other experiments at the following places 
were not carried to the same extent, as I was gene- 
rally satisfied to cease the operations as soon as sleep 
came on." 

Dr. Wilson's work is in the form of a journal, 
from which we proceed to extract as follows : — 

" September 26, 1838.— White Will, a torn cat, 
age about a year. Kitty, a female cat, tortoise- 



TRIALS ON THE BRUTE CREATION. 21? 

shell, eight months. Fuzzy, a female cat, French, 
two months. Vick, a female terrier, six months. 

" Made the passes on Kitty and Fuzzy, on my lap, 
both for the first time, and both were put to sleep in 
about a quarter of an hour. 

" September 28. — Magnetised Fuzzy and Vick on 
the hearth-rug. Both were put to sleep in five mi- 
nutes, and both slept for an hour and a half; being the 
first trial on Yick and the second on Fuzzy. After- 
wards White Will was magnetised on the rug; in 
about ten minutes or more he was put to sleep, and 
Vick coming in the way and annoying White Will, 
I directed the passes towards her at the same time 
that I was acting on White Will, and again, after 
becoming very irritable, and biting the fender, she 
was put to sleep. Both awoke on some one coming 
into the room. 

" September^. (Evening.) — Vick and Fuzzy being 
both very animated, and playing together, biting and 
scratching each other, I began making the passes on 
both at the same time, for about ten minutes, when 
Fuzzy became drowsy, but Vick became more rest- 
less than ever, and was obliged to be held down 
with one hand, while I operated on her with the 
other. In ten minutes more Vick fell asleep, Fuzzy 
having been put to sleep much sooner, and was then 
in a state of torpor. Both continued to sleep for an 
hour and a half, though, at intervals, both were lifted 
up by their necks, but as soon as they were dropped 
down, they instantly fell asleep again without 
moving from the place. On one occasion, both 
having been lifted up and simultaneously laid down 
near each other, they made an effort to arouse them- 
selves, and on approaching each other and attempt- 
ing to begin to play together, in a second, and before 
they could reach each other, both rolled upon their 
sides and relapsed into sleep. The dog lay generally 



2 1 8 MESMERISM. 

with its fore and hind-legs stretched out, and at 
times its legs were slightly convulsed. 

u While these two were sleeping, Kitty was brought 
in, when I magnetised her on my lap in a quarter 
of an hour ; and when placed on the rug she slept for 
about an hour afterwards, though at one time a walk- 
ing-stick fell across her back, and lay there, when 
she only looked about, moved not, and immediately 
fell asleep again. 

" Vick, on awaking, stretched herself, bit the fen- 
der and poker, became quite lively again, and would 
not allow the kitten to sleep, when the latter stole off 
elsewhere. During the evening Yick was again 
twice magnetised and put to sleep. 

" The same morning I made passes on a drake and 
three ducks. They were difficult of approach at 
first, but they soon became quiet, and allowed them- 
selves to be acted on in a mass, with my hands quite 
close to their heads ; at other times they became very 
restless, struggled, and bit each other's necks, and 
tried to escape, as it were, from the passes ; the 
wings of all, but those of the drake in particular, 
made convulsive twitchings as the hand moved over 
them. One or two became apparently drowsy, eyes 
half closed, and sat down two or three times. One 
or two yawned at different times. The time occupied 
was about half an hour, when I was obliged to go 
away. 

" September 30. (Morning.) — Made passes on the 
four ducks, and, for the first half hour, similar effects 
were produced as yesterday ; but when acted on for 
a longer time they all became very agitated, but par- 
ticularly the drake. They made their necks pliant 
and tortuous in an extraordinary way, and rubbed 
and bit themselves over all the various parts of their 
bodies, each directing its bill to its own body, and 
seeming to be very irritable. The rapidity of the 



TRIALS ON THE BRUTE CREATION. 219 

motion of their heads and necks, and the way they 
bit or pecked themselves were very different from 
the quiet manner of ducks picking and cleaning 
themselves. 

" Afterwards, at two or three different times, for 
about an hour at a time, the ducks had passes made 
upon them, with somewhat similar results. 

" About a month after the last passes were made 
one of the ducks died; and a fortnight after that 
the drake died. The cause of their deaths was not 
known. They did not die suddenly, but were said 
to have pined away gradually. 

" Afterwards, Vick and White Will were magne- 
tised and left sleeping. 

"• October 19. — Had a dozen fish, roach, dace, 
gudgeons, and loach, from one to three ounces in 
weight, caught in the Thames this morning. Passes 
being made on them when in a large tub of water, 
they soon came to the top of the water, put their 
noses out, and allowed me to touch their heads, 
stroke them down the backs, and pop their heads 
under the water, when they came to the top again 
immediately, and, instead of seeming afraid of the 
motion of my hand, they appeared more desirous of 
getting near to it than avoiding it. 

" Next, White Will and Kitty were soon put to 
sleep ; but Vick and Fuzzy, both of which had gene- 
rally before been very soon affected, resisted the 
passes for about an hour, but as they were all at 
large, the latter were not constantly acted on, as they 
came near to me and went further from me at their 
pleasure. Vick and Fuzzy were then put together, 
under a guaze dish-cover, and very soon they were 
both put to sleep together by the passes. 

" October 20. — On going near the fish they were 
shy, and darted to the bottom. On passes being 
made, some of them soon came to the top, and swam 
about as before, with their noses out of the water. 



220 MESMERISM. 

When towards the last, I directed the passes to one 
alone, and stroked its back; then I put my finger 
against its mouth, with its nose out, and body in- 
clined at an angle of forty-five degrees with the sur- 
face of the water, when it followed my finger, as it 
described a circle, round and round, for at least a 
dozen times ; then I left it to act on another ; but as 
long as we watched the former, for five or six mi- 
nutes, it remained almost fixed to the same place, 
and retained its same position as to inclination. I 
acted similarly on the other. This one did not fol- 
low my finger describing circles. Then I put my 
finger to one side of its head, and it allowed me to 
turn it round in circles, its body describing a cone, 
its head the base, and its tail the apex. 

u After this, William, a lad of about seventeen, 
tried the passes in my presence, on a large Scotch, 
wiry-haired, black-mouthed terrier dog, Mungo, 
about a year old, and always kept chained in the 
day. The dog soon began to yawn, rise on his hind- 
legs, and place his fore-feet against the door, stretch- 
ing himself, and went several times into the kennel. 
At the end of a quarter of an hour, as it was getting 
dark, and we could not notice what other effect 
might follow, he was unchained, and brought into 
the kitchen, where there were two cats, and Yick 
playing about and attracting his notice, and keeping 
him from sleeping. When William had continued 
the passes for about three quarters of an hour more, 
Mungo lay down at full length in a sound sleep. 
Before being put to sleep he yawned thirty times. 
Many of the yawns were very wide and long con- 
tinued. After he awoke he was put to sleep again, 
two or three more times. When sleeping he moaned 
like what is called dreaming. 

" While William was magnetising Mungo, I made 
passes on Vick, Fuzzy, and White Will, when they 
came within reach of being operated on ; Will went 



TRIALS ON THE BRUTE CREATION. 22 | 

to sleep sitting on his hind-legs, but not at his 
length ; and Vick and Fuzzy again resisted my ef- 
forts, in a great measure, while they continued at 
large and kept moving about ; but when Vick and 
Fuzzy were put together under a large parrot's cage, 
without a bottom, then both were soon put to sleep, 
and they lay across each other with their heads 
down, and continued sleeping soundly till I moved 
the cage away from them to put White Will under 
it, for I could not affect Will again. If I followed 
him up into a corner, he would not remain there, nor 
could I hold him down, and make the passes over 
him ; neither could I hold him on my lap, as he 
struggled so forcibly ; but when he was put under 
the cage, he became furious, and struck his paw and 
leg, as far as the shoulder, out of the cage, at dif- 
ferent times, like a leopard, directly at my feet and 
legs, whether they were on the ground, steadying the 
cage, or placed on the top for the same purpose. He 
walked and leaped about, making dashes through the 
cage between the wires, and a loud noise. This fu- 
rious stage continued for a quarter of an hour, while 
I was continuing the passes over him with one hand, 
and holding in the other an iron footman on the top 
of the cage to press it firmly down, when his tones 
became suppliant, and soon after he lay at full length 
sound asleep. The time of his passing from the furi- 
ous to the plaintive state, and then into the sound 
sleep, was but a few minutes. 

" October 24. — William, in my absence, put the 
three cats and Tick together under the cage, at nine 
o'clock this morning. They were all kept under the 
cage for about half an hour, to try if they would now 
go to sleep without being magnetised, but none went 
to sleep. They quarrelled, and scratched one another, 
and dragged the cage along with them. As soon as 
it was raised a little at the end of the half hour, they 



222 MESMERISM. 

all rushed out different ways. The maids were pre- 
sent. 

" In the evening after I had gone away, William put 
Mungo under the cage. During the passes, Mungo 
yawned twice, fell asleep in half an hour, and conti- 
nued sleeping for an hour. 

u October 25. — William, in my absence, put the 
three cats and Vick all under the cage together, at 
twelve o'clock in the day. They continued there 
quarrelling, fighting, and dragging the cage about for 
forty minutes, when he began the passes, and in two 
or three minutes they were all put to sleep, and slept 
for half an hour. 

" October 29. — Put a Bantam cock with a Bantam 
hen under the cage, near to a she-goat, eighteen 
months old, when William and I both made passes 
together, and separately, for more than half an hour 
before the goat was put to sleep, and then only 
slightly. The cock at first chuckled, and made much 
noise ; then he became quiet, and remained so ; some- 
times sat down and closed his eyes ; but towards the 
end he stood upright for a considerable time like a 
statue, and neither moved head nor foot ; and when 
the cage was taken away, he moved not in the least, 
allowed me to touch and pull his comb and gills, and 
to stroke him down without making the least move- 
ment of his feet, head, or neck. As night was coming 
on, he was brought in, and placed before the kitchen- 
fire, where there were dogs near to him, and the same 
teasing means were repeated with like results, when 
he began to evince sensation and motion by degrees, 
and finally aroused up, and clawed my hands. The 
hen was somewhat similarly affected, but in a much 
less marked manner. It will be observed that it was 
about their roosting time. 

" The following experiments were made at another 
station : — 



TRIALS ON THE BRUTE CREATION. 223 

" October 27, 1838, {night.) — Made passes over 
Dinmont, a long, wiry-haired terrier : he went to 
sleep in twenty minutes. While I was acting on him, 
another terrier, Dandie, of the same description, came 
near to me, and I acted upon him at the same time, 
by occasionally making passes over both. Dandie be- 
came very stupid and motionless, when they were both 
taken away. 

" October 28. — This morning at eight, the servants 
asked what was the matter with Dandie, as he 
seemed to be so stupid and different from his usual 
manner. As he was then close by me, I made the 
passes over him : in two or three minutes he began 
trembling, which increased as I continued the passes, 
and which tremblings I could stop or renew at plea- 
sure, by stopping or renewing the passes : in a 
quarter of an hour he went to sleep. Dinmont then 
came near to me, when I began the passes on him : 
he soon began trembling, as I moved my hand over 
his body and fore-legs ; and, when stretched out, I 
began to act on him with both hands together ; and 
he followed my motions for three yards, dragging 
both his hind-legs at full length. Afterwards he 
became stupid and motionless, when they were both 
aroused by disturbances, which had been going on, 
in a less degree, during the whole time. Dandie 
yawned seven times during the operation. 

" At twelve o'clock, made passes at a distance on a 
wild, fierce, Chinese gander, and a common goose 
and they gradually allowed me to approach them 
though they were at large in the farm-yard; and 
when the gander let me come up to him to make the 
passes close along his head and neck, his neck 
quivered obedient to the passes, which quiverings I 
stopped and renewed at pleasure. I could touch and 
stroke his head and neck as I wished : he remained 
a quarter of an hour erect, with his head raised in 
the air, and never, during that time, once moved a 



224 MESMERISM. 

foot. He frequently gaped during the whole time, as 
well as the goose ; and, when he seemed most suscep- 
tible, kept continually uttering a sort of plaintive 
noise as the passes were made. 

" The goose made no noise. At last I directed the 
passes from the head of the gander to the head of 
the goose, and then the goose's neck quivered : it 
lay down several times, held its head down, and put 
it under some wood, while I continued the passes 
down its neck. I did not notice its eyes being 
closed. The gander never lay down. 

" November 4. (Morning, ten o'clock.) — Smut, a 
very large, fine, black, savage Newfoundland dog, about 
five years old, constantly kept chained up during 
the day time. When he was nearly at the length 
of his chain, I began the passes towards him, and he 
soon began yawning and stretching himself, got 
fidgetty, and moved about; but as I dared not go 
within the range of his chain, I continued acting 
upon him when I could approach him as near as 
one, two, or three yards : his hind-legs and thighs 
began to tremble as the passes were made in front of 
his head : he continued restless, and whined in a low 
plaintive tone as he moved about, yawning at inter- 
vals : towards the last he lay down three different 
times; and once, when his eyes were heavy and 
half-closed, his head and neck trembled as the 
passes were made at a yard's distance in front of his 
face : then he moved towards the centre of his range, 
and lay down, but I dared not follow him, though 
he showed nothing but docility towards me during 
the operation, which continued for nearly an hour, 
during which he yawned thirty-three times, and 
stretched himself several times. 

" November 10. — Placed three macaws, each being 
on his own perch on the lawn, near to each other, 
and made passes on all of them at the same time : 
they were very noisy at first, but very soon Mac 



TRIALS ON THE BRUTE CREATION. . 225 

and Laura trembled all over, and continued to 
tremble more or less as the passes were made : Carl 
was never quiet : all the time he was either moving 
or making a noise. 

"November 11. (Morning, ten o'clock.) — Toby, a 
wild, fierce, stable cat, while moving about from 
place to place, I followed, and made passes towards 
it, both while in rest and motion : when not moving, 
it kept licking itself almost constantly for a quarter 
of an hour : then it ceased licking, and fell asleep 
almost immediately after, and continued sleeping for 
three hours, and at last it was removed and fell 
asleep again. The operation was made in the midst 
of noise and bustle." 

The following experiments were made at a third 
station. The notes, at the time of trying to affect 
two pigs of a large breed, were drawn up, Dr. 
Wilson states, by a spectator : — 

" July 21, 1838. — The pigs were about nine months 
old, healthy, fat, and very lively. The sty in which 
they were confined consisted of two parts — a small 
oblong court uncovered, and an inner sty, roofed, 
and partly boarded in front. They were magnetised 
across the outer court into the enclosed sty, at the 
door of which they presented their heads; about 
half an hour after, they began to sweat about the 
ears and neck, and to utter a peculiar shrill plain- 
tive squeak. After being operated upon for about an 
hour, one of them lay down ; and the other, though 
standing, suffered the operator to enter the inner 
sty, and magnetise them quite close, without their 
being disturbed. 

u July 22. — The pigs were again magnetised : they 
were driven out of the inner cell ; and the door of 
it being closed, so as to keep them in the outer 
court, the process commenced. The effect was re- 
markably decided. The passes were made both from 
the tail to the snout, and the contrary, but the re- 
p 



226 , MESMERISM. 

suit was the same. The sweat exuded from the 
ears, neck, and in patches all over the body; and 
the other excretions were also as much affected. 
The animals became very quiet, and one was much 
affected; and, at each pass, spasmodic convulsions 
of the ear, snout, and whole body, were strongly de- 
veloped. The sweat increased as the process con- 
tinued, and the convulsions also ; and, after a trial 
of about one hour and three quarters, the entrance 
to the inner sty was opened, and they both imme- 
diately entered it, and one lay down, and fell imme- 
diately into a state of sleep. The stupified quiet- 
ness with which they allowed the magnetiser to 
operate upon them in the court, when closely hud- 
dled up into a corner, was a remarkable contrast to 
their usual habits. 

"December 25. — Made passes on a calf, two months 
old, in a loose box. In a quarter of an hour it lay 
down, then got up again ; as I continued acting on 
its head, it three consecutive times touched my shoe 
with its nose ; but the instant it did so, it suddenly 
sprang back on all fours to the extent of the loose 
box, as if it had received a shock. In another half 
hour, it lay down twice more ; after which it became 
very irritable, and licked itself violently in various 
parts ; then it would lick me, and take hold of my 
dress, without suddenly withdrawing itself, as it did 
at first when it touched my shoe; then it would 
hold up its head, as I raised my hand, and lick 
it ; and, lastly, it rubbed its head so forcibly against 
my legs, that I could stand there no longer, and re- 
tired. 

" During the operation, it seemed most irritable 
when I held my hand near the nape of its neck, when 
it shook its head violently, or would throw it up, and 
put out its tongue, as if licking the air. Its breath- 
ing was deep and lengthened, almost snoring at one 
time. The time of operation, an hour and a half. 



TRIALS ON THE BRUTE CREATION. 227 

" December 27. — On walking along the road I came 
up with a heavily laden waggon, to the end of which 
a rough wiry-haired dog was chained, and barking 
at passing objects. As I came nearer to him, I 
began moving my hand ; at first he went forward un- 
der the waggon, shortly he began to lag behind at 
length of his chain, droop his head, and yawned 
twice ; whole time, three or four minutes. When as 
the waggoner kept looking behind at times, to see 
what might be going on, and as I could not attempt 
to explain to him what I was after, should he have 
asked me, I dropped behind the waggon and ceased 
the passes, but the dog kept frequently turning its 
head round to look after me, pulling by his chain ; 
and when I was about ten yards behind, he kept his 
eyes more fixedly on me, and resisted with all his 
might the progress of the waggon, by pulling in an 
opposite direction with his feet set out before him, and 
hanging by his collar as he was forcibly dragged on 
by the waggon ; afterwards, as I passed the waggon, 
he came as near to me as the chain would allow ; he 
neither whined nor barked once. 

" December 29. — Tried a horse, in a loose box, for 
two hours. Very shortly he let me remain as near 
to him as I liked, and kept his head almost steady as 
I made the passes. At the end of an hour he yawned 
six times in quick succession, then began to shake his 
head and neck, to lick his hind-leg, and to move fur- 
ther from me. For a very short time the eyes were 
half closed, and head drooped ; afterwards he returned 
into the same state that he was in during the first 
hour." 

The following experiments were made in the Zoo - 
logical Gardens, Surrey, on two Ceylon elephants, 
male and female, Rajah and Hadgee, each about ten 
years old, and both kept together in the same stall. 

" March 13, 1839. — Began the passes along the 
head and trunk (proboscis) of the female elephant. 



228 MESMERISM. 

Hadgee, as she stood; in about five minutes she 
curved her trunk, previous to raising her head, to 
strike me with the trunk ; which the keeper noticing, 
warned me of what she was preparing to do, so that 
afterwards I kept at a distance where she could not 
hit me with her trunk, though several times she at- 
tempted to do so, by raising her head and lashing out 
her trunk at the same time. Twice she turned her 
back on me, but I continued the passes. Once she 
struck her hind-leg out towards me ; she also yawned 
several times : the striking her trunk out, with the 
design of hitting a stranger, was unusual with her. 
Time of operation, a quarter of an hour, when, stran- 
gers coming in, it was discontinued. 

" Then I went to see the other wild beasts fed, but 
found that they had already begun feeding. As I 
stopped before a lioness, lying down tearing a half 
devoured joint, which she held between her paws, 
and growling at me, I began making passes towards 
her head ; she very soon, almost immediately ceased 
eating, grasped the joint between her jaws, and ceased 
growling ; her eyes began to twinkle, and soon closed 
at times, for short intervals; when some strangers 
came up, and asked me how it was that I seemed to 
affect the lioness. I gave them an evasive reply, in 
hopes of their going away, and ceased the passes, but 
held my hands out a little towards her, as she conti- 
nued in the same position ; but her eyes were much 
less closed than when I made the passes. After 
these visitors went, I renewed the passes ; when 
other visitors came, and again I ceased, and held my 
hands out steadily before me ; she then got up and 
walked about, and then lay down again. As the 
company remained standing there, I ceased all trials 
and retired, as the lioness began to tear the joint, 
after having retained it full twenty minutes in her 
mouth, without once relaxing hold of it. 

" March \ 4. — Tried Hadgee again ; only once or 



TRIALS ON THE BRUTE CREATION. 229 

twice she attempted to strike me with her trunk, 
yawned only as many times, and allowed me to make 
the passes frequently along the head and trunk, 
when, as my hands passed over her eyes, they often 
twinkled, and sometimes closed; then she changed 
first one leg and then another to rest on, as if fatigued, 
and which she usually does before going to sleep ; 
and another sign the keeper noticed was the manner 
of curling up the extremity of her trunk, indicative 
of sleep. When I seemed to be affecting her the 
most she would frequently move from me as far as 
she could get, turn her back on me while I continued 
the passes, and she would lift up first one leg and 
then another, stretch and sometimes kick them out. 
The keeper thought she might probably have gone to 
sleep if she had been alone ; but when she seemed 
most disposed to do so, the other elephant Rajah kept 
teasing her. Time of operation, three quarters of an 
hour ; during which, with the intention of augment- 
ing the power of the passes, I took hold of one hand 
of the keeper, and with my other hand made the 
passes. She did not seem to express her displeasure 
towards me by trying to strike me with her trunk as 
she did yesterday ; but she repeatedly, while I had 
hold of one of the keeper's hands, took hold of his 
other hand with her trunk, and drew him from me 
towards herself. 

" March 16. — Hadgee retired as soon as the passes 
were made towards her ; and as often as they were 
renewed, she again retreated ; so that, finding I had 
no chance of affecting her in a more marked manner, 
I abandoned her, and began, for the first time, making 
passes on the male elephant, Rajah, in the same en- 
closure, and he seemed also to have a dislike to the 
passes ; but he would not retire from them, and kept 
all the time of the operation, an hour, frequently 
throwing his trunk out at me, and thus keeping me 
at a distance from him. Towards the last, he lashed 



230 MESMERISM. 

it out more frequently and forcibly, but never retired 
the whole time. Yet, as soon as Hadgee came for- 
ward, a few passes made her retire almost imme- 
diately. So that each showed its dislike in a diffe- 
rent way and in a manner different from either of 
their usual habits. 

"March 17. — After making passes on Rajah for five 
minutes, while his head continued moving up and 
down, as is his general habit when awake, at the 
end of that time he rested his head against a pillar, 
his trunk hung down straight, quite relaxed, and mo- 
tionless, eyes closed, and he slept for another five 
minutes ; he snored both towards the beginning and 
towards the end of this sleep, when he was teased by 
Hadgee, and awoke. 

" As I renewed the passes on Rajah, when both of 
their heads were near to each other, I noticed that 
Hadgee was becoming drowsy ; then I began making 
passes alternately on each of them. In about a 
quarter of an hour more Rajah rested his head against 
the side of the stall, relaxed his trunk, and again 
slept for four or five minutes, when he was awoke 
by Hadgee teasing him, knocking her head against 
the side of the stall, and making much noise. 

" To-day they showed no dislike to me. They 
both took hold of my clothes and pulled me about, 
and I went into their stall. I felt the aura twice to- 
day, but only in a very slight degree each time, 
when Rajah was going off to sleep. This is the 
first time that I have felt the aura* since I be- 

* We understand the aura to be referred to by Dr. Wilson in 
a previous part of his work, when, after describing some passes 
made over a spaniel, by a friend, he says, — 

" Soon after, or about the end of the passes, the operator felt 
a tingling sensation creeping up the arm which he used, as far 
as the shoulder, accompanied with drowsiness, and pain in the 
back of the neck. At night, on going to bed, he experienced 
great restlessness, with occasional twitchings of the arms and 
legs, and a burning sensation in the eyes ; next day he suffered 
much from violent pain in the head, uneasiness, and distension 



TRIALS ON THE BRUTE CREATION. 231 

gan with the elephants, and it was much feebler 
than what I have felt when similarly affecting a 
man. It is only now and then, in cold winter days, 
that they doze or sleep, standing, and only then when 
no one is near them. 

" March 18. — Hadgee became drowsy very soon, 
and continued so almost the whole time afterwards ; 
she was docile, but retired from the passes always 
when she appeared becoming the most affected by 
them. Towards the last twenty minutes she kept 
almost constantly moviDg in a restless and fidgetty 
way, by changing her position, or by moving about 
in a more than usual heavy, sluggish manner, so 
that it was only at intervals that I could act on her ; 
at last, I went into the stall, and pursued her with the 
passes as she moved about, and sometimes, when she 
retired into a corner, and I continued the passes, she 
would turn her back on me. She yawned thrice, 
wide and long. Though the time was about an hour 
and a half she never went to sleep, but she seemed 
at different times very near to it, and was all along 
drowsy. At times, when visitors came in, the ope- 
ration was suspended. 

" During the operation I occasionally made passes 
on one or both, as they suited my convenience, for 
when I could not act on Hadgee, which I was seldom 
able to do, though I was more desirous of affecting 
her to-day, I could generally act on Rajah, for he 
seldom moved from the front. He was drowsy, and 
sometimes irritable, alternately, and struck me with 
his trunk several times ; never slept, yawned once, 
and at the end became more playful, the keeper said, 
than he had been for a long time before. 

" No further trials were made on the elephants and 
other wild beasts, from my unwillingness to carry 

of the abdomen. Sensations nearly similar were felt by the ope- 
rator about a fortnight before this time, when he was casually 
within the influence of my passes at station A." 



232 MESMERISM. 

the experiments beyond a certain point ; for I had 
no means of judging what the consequences might 
be, should such animals as the elephants, and other 
beasts, after repetitions of Magnetism, get into the 
irritable stage, or should they, after being put to 
sleep, pass into the state of somnambulism or de- 
lirium." 

It is in these words that Dr. Wilson concludes the 
record of his experiments, experiments which were 
evidently made with the utmost care, and with a 
strong desire to attain a knowledge of the truth. 
What objections sceptics may have to offer to facts 
thus ascertained, it is scarcely for us to anticipate. Pos- 
sibly it may be alleged that the imaginations of the 
various animals were operated upon in some peculiar 
way by Dr. Wilson, or that he has been in collusion 
with them for the purpose of deception, as was said 
to be the case with the labouring man James Womb- 
well, who allowed his leg to be cut off simply to 
please certain Mesmerisers, pretending to be asleep, 
when he was, in truth, all the time wide awake! 
Should the subject ever come under discussion at 
the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society of Lon- 
don, we may be prepared to hear of some equally 
profound explanations being brought forward, and 
the members will, of course, conclude by voting that 
the notice of such terrible facts ought to be expunged 
from their minutes ! 



233 



CHAPTER IX. 



CONCLUDING REMARKS. 



u I have seen nothing of it, nor do I think it right 
to tempt God by going to see it ! " exclaims the Rev. 
Hugh M'Neile, in his pulpit denunciation of Mes- 
merism. The minister of St. Jude's Church, Liver- 
pool, does not call in question the reality of the 
Mesmeric phenomena, but ascribing their origin to 
Satanic agency, he will not tempt God by becoming 
an eye-witness ! 

The pulpit, we know, was brought to the aid of 
the medical faculty when small-pox innoculation was 
sought to be preached down, and when Jenner, at a 
later period promulgated his discovery, certain en- 
lightened members of the clerical body declared vacci- 
nation to be Anti-Christ. 

A similar combination of medical and clerical 
bigotry is now, it would seem, to be directed against 
Mesmerism, and it is, if possible, to be annihilated 
by the sneers of one of the so-called learned profes- 
sions, and the fulminations from the pulpit of another. 
" There are few things," says Bailey, " more dis- 
gusting to an enlightened mind, than to see a num- 
ber of men — a mob — whether learned or illiterate, 
who have never scrutinized the foundation of their 
opinions, assailing with contumely an individual who, 
after the labour of research and reflection, has 
adopted different sentiments from theirs, and pluming 
themselves on the notion of superior ' knowledge,' 



234 MESMERISM. 

because their understandings have been tenacious of 
prejudice." And Jobard, a French writer, remarks, 
— " Galileo, Newton, Salomon de Caus, Volta, Ful- 
ton, Winser, Arkwright, Gall, and all who have pre- 
sented themselves with a truth in their hand at the 
door of this great bedlam, called the world, have 
been received with stones or hisses." 

Satanic agency is the bugbear raised by the Rev. 
Hugh M'Neile against Mesmerism ; but his medical 
allies have other means of solving the difficulty. 
Their pride of learning has been piqued because they 
are unable to explain certain facts of which they 
have heard, and so they boldly rush to the conclu- 
sion that the facts are not facts. They read in their 
books that a commission of the Medical Faculty of 
Paris had condemned what is now called Mesmerism; 
and forgetting that a commission of the same body had 
likewise, after a similar investigation, rejected as a 
fallacy Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the 
blood, and without deigning to examine the living evi- 
dence to be seen on every side, they donounce those 
who maintain an opposite opinion as either dupes or 
impostors. Their mode of proceeding is quaintly 
described in the following words of an ingenious 
author : — " Whilst the unlearned were all busied in 
getting down to the bottom of the well, where truth 
keeps her little court, were the learned, in their way, 
as busy in pumping her up through the conduits of 
dialectic induction ; — they concerned themselves not 

With FACTS THEY REASONED." 

The late Sir Gilbert Blane has admirably said, — 
"It seems extremely unphilosophical to deny the 
reality or possibility of any thing in nature, from 
our supposed knowledge of the means and causes she 
employs, particularly in a branch of science so obscure 
as the animal economy. Could we, therefore, prove 
the point as a matter of fact, it would be vain to 
controvert it upon arguments derived from our fan- 



CONCLUDING REMARKS. 235 

cied acquaintance with nature's modes of operation." 
And Dr. Chalmers has pithily remarked, in the 
words inscribed on our title-page, that " it is a very- 
obvious principle, although often forgotten in the 
pride of prejudice and of controversy, that what has 
been seen by one pair of human eyes, is of force to 
countervail all that has been reasoned or guessed at 
by a thousand human understandings." 

Mesmerism is, of all others, the science of facts. 
As Mr. Chenevix has well observed, " In the whole 
domain of human arguments, no art or science rests 
upon experiments more numerous, more positive, or 
more easily ascertained." And the illustrious philo- 
sopher La Place was frequently in the habit of re- 
marking to Mr. Chenevix that "the testimony in 
favour of the truth of Mesmerism, coming with such 
uniformity from enlightened men of many nations, 
who had no interest to deceive, and possessed no 
possible means of collusion, was such that, applying 
to it his own principles and formulas respecting 
human evidence, he could not withhold his assent to 
what was so strongly supported." 

In the preceding pages, there are many facts re- 
corded, which are not the less true, because we are 
as yet unable to give an adequate explanation of the 
cause. The chapter showing the application of Mes- 
merism to medical science, contains a body of evi- 
dence gathered from a variety of sources, which can 
scarcely be perused by any intelligent mind free 
from prejudice, without leaving a decided impression 
as to the importance of this agency. Similar proofs of 
its efficacy might have been adduced from the conti- 
nent of Europe, the British Colonies, and the United 
States of America. In the chapter devoted to cases 
recently developed in Scotland, the uses of Mesmer- 
ism are also seen, although in a less extensive range 
of diseases. 

The reason has already been stated, why the more 



236 MESMERISM. 

extraordinary of the phenomena, as evolved more 
especially in the case of Isabella H , have re- 
ceived a place with the others. They cannot be 
entirely withdrawn from public observation, and the 
more prominently, therefore, they are brought for- 
ward the better. If based on delusion, let them be 
exposed ; if on truth, let them go forth in the hope 
that the mystery will one day be cleared up. Some 
individuals will, no doubt, turn aside from an in- 
quiry with which such seeming absurdities are con- 
nected, and others will be afforded a pretext to raise 
the empty laugh of ignorance. This cannot be 
helped. Mesmerism is true, whatever may be the 
ultimate decision of mankind regarding the higher 
states of clairvoyance ; and if we put the latter 
aside, no intelligent mind, anxious only after truth, 
can long remain in doubt. Mesmerism is not to be 
rejected as a whole ; its benefits as a branch of the 
healing art are not to be thrown to the winds, even 
although it should finally appear that certain persons 
have allowed too wide a range to their imaginations. 
"We neither admit nor reject the phenomena of the 
higher states of clairvoyance ; but viewing them as a 
curious topic of enquiry in connection with Mesmer- 
ism, we have produced the evidence in the form it 
has reached our hands. 

The higher states of clairvoyance are said by ex- 
perienced Mesmerisers to be of rare occurrence, but 
it is otherwise with the phenomena to which the 
name of Phreno-Mesmerism has been given. Re- 
garding the latter, almost every one may readily 
judge for himself; and when we consider the ease 
with which the phenomena may be produced, it is 
absolutely ludicrous to witness the amount of scepti- 
cism which still exists. Let any one peruse the record 
of cases in preceding pages, and then calmly ask, is it 
possible that so many persons could all of a sudden 
have sprung up in various parts of the country, bent 



CONCLUDING REMARKS. 23? 

only upon deceiving their fellows ; that such men 
as Dr. Elliotson, Mr. Braid, Mr. Simpson, and many 
others, have lent themselves as parties to the decep- 
tion ; and that individuals of character and standing 
in society, who have submitted to the Mesmeric in- 
fluence, should also have become participators in the 
wretched fraud ? It appears much harder to disbe- 
lieve than to believe, upon such ample evidence as 
has been adduced. The truth of the so-called 
Phreno-Mesmeric manifestations has been proved 
beyond the reach of reasonable cavil ; but whether 
Phrenology is also thereby proved, is a different 
question, which may form a fair topic for future dis- 
cussion. 

The injudicious supporters of Mesmerism are not 
a little to blame for a certain amount of the sceptic- 
ism which has been generated. Some of the lec- 
turers who have inundated the country possessed 
little knowledge of the subject they professed to 
teach ; their experiments have too frequently been 
conducted in a careless or blundering manner, and 
thus, instead of producing converts, their labours 
have been of an opposite tendency. The Rev. Mr. 
Townshend, in speaking of one of his patients, re- 
marks, — 

" I found that the sensibility of the sleep-waker 
might be exhausted by a multiplicity of experiments, 
or their too rapid repetition. Sometimes, after hav- 
ing named many objects correctly, he would begin 
to make mistakes, and evidently to guess instead of 
to perceive. At other moments, he would push im- 
patiently away from him the cards, books, &c, that 
were presented to him, and exclaim, ' Maintenant je 
ne puis plus/ Again, when allowed to remain quiet 
for a while he would recover his clairvoyance, in the 
same manner that the nervous energy of persons in 
the normal state, when impaired through over-ex- 



238 MESMERISM. 

citement, returns to its pristine functions after an 
interval of repose." 

And a little farther on, Mr. Townshend proceeds : 
" Many failures, which have stamped Mesmerism 
as an imposition, may be attributed, I am convinced, 
to the action of disturbing causes, or the absence of 
those circumstances which are requisite to ensure suc- 
cess. That this has not been acknowledged on all 
hands is, perhaps, as much the fault of Mesmerisers 
themselves, as of their opponents. The former, proud 
of the faculties of their patients, do not like to admit 
that these faculties are variable and liable to a num- 
ber of restrictions. They, therefore, fail to forewarn 
those whom they invite to witness their proceedings, 
that the whole exhibition may chance to be a failure, 
and that the clairvoyant of to-day may be nothing 
remarkable to-morrow. What is the consequence of 
this mistaken disingenuousness ? Even they, who, if 
duly advertised of the true state of things, would be 
the first to acquiesce in the necessities of the case, are 
revolted by finding a discrepancy between the per- 
formance and the promise — the fact and their expec- 
tation of the fact. Mesmerisers, then, cannot be too 
careful in stating all the drawbacks to their success ; 
and, at the same time, every person should, in all 
fairness, concede to Mesmeric experiments the same 
privilege which is accorded to all others, namely, a 
precognition of those causes which may render them 
difficult or impossible to be repeated. At present, it 
may be safely asserted, that never was any subject 
capable of physical experiment, submitted to such un- 
just requisitions as that of Mesmerism. It has been 
expected to give the same results at all times, and 
under all circumstances. The truth, however, is, that 
Mesmeric sleep-waking does not only present different 
degrees in different persons, but in the same. The 
patient may at one time be Mesmerised, but not to 



CONCLUDING REMARKS. 239 

clairvoyance ; at another, he may display the most 
admirable faculties of the Mesmeric state." 

These observations are peculiarly worthy of the 
attention of Mesmerisers, and also of those, who, in 
a spirit of candour, are desirous of investigating the 
subject. 

Besides such objections as those brought forward 
by the Rev. Hugh M'Neile, it has been urged against 
Mesmerism that it is dangerous, and may be turned 
to improper purposes. The same objection will ap- 
ply to many of the most potent remedies we possess 
in the hands of an unprincipled physician ; but are 
we to reject entirely the means of cure because these 
may be used for evil ends. The poison by which life 
is taken away, is sometimes the most powerful resto- 
rative that can be applied. Dr. Ziermann observes, 
in reference to certain extravagances and abuses — 

u The blame is not imputable to magnetism, but 
to the ignorance and imprudence of those, 4 who, with- 
out medical knowledge, or without a sufficient ac- 
quaintance with the new method, attempted the cure 
of diseases by its means ; and a great part of the 
abuses and mischiefs of all kinds, which must neces- 
sarily have arisen from this cause, as well as from the 
illusions under which enthusiasts, and others enter- 
taining false and exaggerated views, plied this occu- 
pation, is to be ascribed to those, who, although best 
qualified by their attainments to direct this important 
business, stood altogether aloof. As soon as the in- 
telligent physician avails himself of this method of 
cure, as soon as it is wrested out of the hands of the 
unprofessional, there is as little danger to be appre- 
hended from it, as from the poisons and surgical in- 
struments which we are in the daily practice of em- 
ploying." 

The only excuse for the interference of the non- 
professional practisers of Mesmerism, is the conduct 



240 MESMERISM. 

of the majority of the medical faculty. Mankind are 
not to be deprived of the blessings of a potent remedy 
because the professors of the healing art choose to re- 
main wilfully blind to the truth. 

That there are still difficulties to be surmounted 
before the truths of Mesmerism are universally ac- 
knowledged, we do not attempt to conceal. The na- 
ture of these has been excellently described by 
Fourcroy, the celebrated chemist, in the following 
passage : — " The cold inactivity of some ; the affected 
indifference of others ; the contempt expressed by one 
person ; the irritated self-love, and the languid at- 
tachment of another for the doctrine of his ances- 
tors ; the dread of novelty, and prejudices of every 
kind ; all the mean passions which, gliding into so- 
ciety, and playing their parts in civil life, are also to 
be met with in the sciences ; the sarcasms and epi- 
grams with which they arm conversation ; — all these 
retard for a short time, perhaps for some years, the 
progress of new ideas ; but truth ultimately over- 
comes every obstacle. Neither the clamours of envy, 
nor the resistance of prejudice, nor the opposition of 
ignorance, can terrify it. It is the rock against which 
the impotent waves of human passion are broken. 
When the vivid light of truth strikes those minds 
that are properly adapted to feel its influence, it soon 
inspires them with a sufficient degree of force to make 
them proclaim it with confidence, and to establish its 
rights on a solid foundation." 

Mesmerism, like other truths which were first 
doubted, then decried, and finally adopted, will ulti- 
mately have its day of triumph. 



THE END. 



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Vol. 



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